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GSS Response to GQNBT Task Force Report

September 21, 2020

The GSS Advisory Board, collectively and member by member, has spent significant time reading, pondering, and discussing the Gender Queer, Non-Binary, and Trans (GQNBT) Task Force Report published in September 2019, following a year-long, collaborative effort among Northwestern staff, faculty, and students. Before outlining concrete responses that GSS plans to pursue in 2020-21, we want to express our gratitude to GSS faculty and Advisory Board members Sekile Nzinga and Héctor Carrillo, who jointly led this Task Force, and to the many GSS-affiliated students, professors, and staff members who made this transformative project such a priority across the 2018-19 school year. In so doing, they modeled the kind of ethically guided, ambitiously scaled, community-wide push that is necessary to generate real coalition and to launch measurable, progressive change—both on the specific issues that this report addresses and on a wide range of other, urgent fronts that matter deeply to everyone in GSS.

GSS plans to work in sync with trans and gender non-conforming leaders, and with allies at all levels of the campus, to realize the recommendations and potentials of this Report and to honor the frank dialogues and inclusive process that produced it. Whether through conscious avoidance, fatigue, or the diffuse, distraction-prone baseline of working within large institutions, task forces and their recommendations often fall by the wayside. Despite the painful, seemingly infinite crises of our present moment, we must all ensure this fate does not befall the GQNBT Task Force’s labor or its report… or, for that matter, prior Task Force reports that align with GSS’s wider mission, including the African American/Black Student Experience Report from 2016, containing 14 urgent recommendations, most of which remain unfulfilled.

Having pledged such solidarity and long-term dedication, this document turns now to actions that GSS can lead or make internally. Discussions will continue about how to enact, expand, or modify these plans. Some levels of detail are harder to specify now than they may become later, as we dig into logistics and confer with needed collaborators. We have also transparently indicated areas where we feel constrained from doing as much as we’d like. Still, here are some projects already in discussion or underway.

Click here to download the full response with detailed action items.