A student senator at UC Berkeley abstained from a vote supporting transgender rights last week, then took a moment to explain her thinking. Now, more than a thousand people have signed a petition demanding that she resign from student government or face a recall.
Hundreds packed a Senate meeting Wednesday night to insist that she go. On social media, students labeled her a “horrible person” and a “mental imbecile.” Her campus political party severed ties with her. And the Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s storied student newspaper, editorialized against her and refused to publish her written defense.
The uproar began on Oct. 31, when the Queer Alliance Resource Center asked the student Senate to pass a bill condemning the Trump administration for considering a legal definition of gender that would require it to match a person’s sex at birth. The proposal would change the federal Title IX civil rights law and potentially remove its protections from 1.4 million transgender people, according to a New York Times story last month based on a leaked memo. At UC Berkeley, the students’ resolution also urged the university to step up support of “transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students” and the campus groups that help them.