Yale University has joined the ranks of 74 colleges and universities that have officially banned discrimination based on gender identity from campus. The school is the final member of the Ivy League to write such a protection into official school policy. The campus’s Queer Political Action Committee (QPAC) brought the issue to the school’s attention with a signature drive.
The decision by Yale is part of a greater movement. A report issued by GenderPAC, a gender public advocacy coalition, shows that half of the top 50 institutions (as ranked by US News & World Report) include gender identity and expression in anti-discrimination policies. The effects are also trickling into K-12 school districts, such as those in California, Maine, Minnesota and New Jersey.
Yale has taken additional step by including protection of gender expression. GenderPAC explains, “‘Gender identity’ refers to a person’s sense of being male or female, while ‘gender expression’ describes how people manifest feeling masculine or feminine through how they look, act, or dress.” With the new policy in effect, Hugh Baran, a student leader in Yale’s QPAC, already anticipates changes. Already, he says, Yale has appointed a liaison to oversee LGBT issues and there is discussion of diversity training for faculty and incoming students.