MSU promotes prof's call to 'speak with your legislators' about transgender policies

A professor at Michigan State University said that people can be a better ally to transgender students by lobbying their legislators "to support trans inclusive policies and protections."

The interview was published on the university's website.

A Michigan State University professor psychology professor urged the university community to lobby legislators for transgender policies in order to be an “ally” to the transgender community.

The university published an interview with Jae Puckett, an assistant professor in Michigan State University’s department of psychology clinical sciences program, that discussed “recognizing and respecting trans identities.” 

In the interview, Puckett urged the Michigan State University community to “speak with your legislators” to push them to support transgender policy proposals.

”Another way to be an ally is to take broader steps to enact change,” Puckett said, according to the university, Puckett said. “Trans rights and protections are constantly under attack. Take the initiative to speak with your legislators to support trans inclusive policies and protections. These laws have an effect on the lives of trans people, our ability to participate in daily life and our access to resources.”

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The assistant professor specifically urged more advocation of gender-inclusive restrooms.

“As an ally, you could do things like encourage businesses with single stall restrooms to make these gender inclusive rather than having separate single stall restrooms for men and women,” Puckett suggested. “You could advocate for a school or university to create multi-stall gender inclusive restrooms. Or you could take on policy level changes at the state level if you live somewhere that restricts access to public restrooms.”

When asked how people can “best express their allyship” towards “the trans [plus] community,” Puckett advised getting involved with activism.

“If you view yourself as an ally, then you should be doing the actions in line with that,” Puckett explained. “We need to see allyship as a verb- something you do- and less as an identity you claim.”

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“There are many well-meaning people out there who view themselves as allies simply because they may not hold overt negative beliefs about trans people, but who may not be putting in the work to carry out their allyship,” Puckett continued.

Chance Layton, the Communications and Membership Coordinator of the National Association of Scholars, told Campus Reform that colleges and universities should remain neutral.

“Colleges and universities have an obligation to the American public to remain within the bounds of institutional neutrality- especially if they are public institutions,” he said.

“Before they say anything, they ought to ask: ‘does this represent the will of the taxpayers who subsidize my salary?’ If the answer is ‘no,’ then they ought to keep the policy opinion out of the classroom and take to the op-ed pages after work,” Layton further explained.

Campus Reform reached out to Puckett for comment, but did not receive a response.

MSU spokesperson Emily Gerkin Guerrant told Campus Reform that “this piece is one perspective from a member of our faculty, not from the university as a whole.  The suggestions in the article are just that – suggestions.” 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @LelaGallery