George Fox University has been facing criticism for its policy, which it says is motivated by its Christian beliefs, of not allowing transgender students to live in housing with the gender with which they identify. On Thursday, the university announced a change that would open housing to transgender students who have surgery. The university's new policy (which George Fox characterizes as a clarification) states: "Common residence halls are single-sex, defined anatomically. We are committed to residential access, and it is consistent with our beliefs and our community values that a presurgical transgendered person will be provided on-campus housing in appropriate alternative housing either on or off campus." A spokesman confirmed that those who do have surgery will be entitled to regular housing.
Paul Southwick, a lawyer representing a transgender student challenging George Fox's policies, said that the policy shift did not resolve his concerns. "If George Fox University is drawing the line at gender reassignment surgery, that is not the line drawn by state and federal law. Gender identity protections do not extend only to those individuals who can afford, or who are ready, for gender reassignment surgery," he said. Southwick added that most transgender people do not get surgery. "And how would George Fox police anatomy?" he asked.