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Experts Advisory: Obama Administration, States Battle Over Transgender Rights

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 25, 2016) -- The rights of transgender individuals to utilize the bathroom of their identity is the latest battle in the ongoing culture war in the United States. On one side is the Obama Administration, which recently directed the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education to send a letter to all public schools in the U.S. directing them to allow transgender students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity. On the other side are individual states such as North Carolina, which recently enacted legislation banning people from using bathrooms that don’t match the gender on their birth certificates.

Gender inclusive bathroom
The rights of transgender people to utilize the bathroom of their identity has led to conflict between the Obama Administration and individual U.S. states.

The Department of Justice and North Carolina have filed dueling lawsuits, with the federal government claiming the 'bathroom bill' is discriminatory and violates civil rights, and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory accusing the Obama Administration of "baseless and blatant overreach."

University at Albany faculty and staff cover a broad range of topics associated with transgender civil rights. This includes LGBTQ student inclusion, the psychological needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and safety and security of transgender bathrooms. UAlbany also counts among its alumni civil rights icon Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California. Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

  • Aran Mull, Assistant Chief, University Police Department: Throughout his career, Mull has been active in department programming and policy and instruction initiatives, as well as event management. Mull recently advised the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on the issue of transgender bathroom rights and public safety. He consulted with law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S., finding that “there is no evidence that non-discrimination protections have caused any harm in the 18 states, the District of Columbia or (the) well over 200 municipalities that have adopted such protections. To the contrary, the experience of law enforcement indicates that such protections actually enhance public safety.”
  • Courtney D'Allaird, Gender and Sexuality Resource Center: D'Allaird is the founding coordinator of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center at UAlbany and has done extensive work with college campuses across New York State in order to expand initiatives for LGBTQ* student inclusion. D'Allaird works with college students in transitioning to campus life and provides interactive trainings, programs and class lectures across campus. D'Allaird is a nationally certified peer educator and trainer for NCBI (National Coalition Building Institute), DASA (Dignity for All Students Act) and Safe Space/Zone development.
  • Chantelle Cleary, Title IX coordinator: In her capacity as Title IX coordinator, Cleary is responsible for ensuring the proper application of the federal Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 at the University As the Title IX Coordinator, Cleary leads the University at Albany’s sexual violence prevention and education initiatives, as well as the institutional response to sexual violence. In recognition of her expertise in the field of sexual violence investigations, Cleary was recently selected as an educational instructor for The National Center for Campus Public Safety’s (NCCPS) Trauma-Informed Sexual Assault Investigation and Adjudication Educational Program.
  • Arlene Istar Lev, School of Social Welfare: Lev is a social worker and family therapist whose work addresses the unique therapeutic needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. She is the founder of a counseling and consulting business in Albany, N.Y., and author of The Complete Lesbian and Gay Parenting Guide and Transgender Emergence, which received the American Psychological Association Distinguished Book Award in 2006. Lev serves as an adjunct faculty member in UAlbany's School of Social Welfare as well as at Vermont College of the Union Institute & University.
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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.