Tuesday, April 26, 2011

No H8

UPDATE: The Student Body President vetoed the bill as of 4/26 at approximately 3:00. It now goes back to the Senate.

Pardon me. I'm about to hijack my own blog, and get on my soap box. I'm going to be controversial, and I'm going to say things that you might disagree with. I don't usually do that; the last place I need a political/social debate is on my blog. But, sometimes, you just have to say something. And for me, it's now. I just have to say something.



I've posted before about why I love Texas A&M. I love that guys still give up their seat on the bus for me, and hold open doors. I love that people are generally friendly and look out for each other {(one time I felt sick riding my bike to campus and laid down on some grass. Within seconds someone pulled over to make sure I was OK)}. I love Silver Taps, and Muster, and Yell Practice, and The Spirit, and The War Hymn.



Yet, I'm growing weary of the rhetoric surrounding the GLBTA (Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Aggies) and the GLBT resource center. Recently, the Texas A&M Student Senate passed a resolution to support legislation that would require campuses with LGBT resource centers to also have "Traditional Family Values Centers." This was recently put into the budget bill passed by the Texas House. In addition to requiring these centers, the legislation does not allow student fees to be raised to cover it's operation; rather funds allocated for LGBT resource centers would be split.



The argument is that all students should have access to services and resources based on their own beliefs. And while I respect that being part of the LGBT community is controversial {(although I have a hard time understanding this)}, I have to wonder what the true motives of the bill are. On this campus, there are over 100 recognized religious organizations, of which roughly 90 are Christian organizations {(this doesn't count the ministries in the area which serve the college-aged population)} for students who wish to learn about "traditional family values {(and would someone please tell me what those are, anyways?)}. All are eligible to apply for various funding through the university. In contrast there is one organization for members of the LGBT community, and one resource center {(which doesn't push information on anyone, btw)}. Studies have shown that in conservative areas that LGBT youth {(which arguably can describe people up to the age of 25)} are more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers.



This is no surprise when you consider that since I've been here (August 2004) there have been numerous protests comparing LGBT individuals to animals, or refering to them as subhuman, as satanic. It is being made clear that many do not consider LGBT individuals Aggies. In a recent open letter to the student senate, one commenter says as much. This is unacceptable to me. At one point, women weren't Aggies, but here I am. At one point, minorities weren't Aggies. But they are. We are ALL Aggies. We don't have to agree, or like each other, or speak to each other. But we should treat each other with respect, and dignity. If we can't even do that, then what good is our honor code, and our claim that we're one of the "friendliest" college campuses in the nation?



The GLBT resource center offers advice, resources {(duh!)} and support to any Aggie, gay, straight, transgender, bisexual, or questioning. It is a place to go when students feel like no one wants them here, when they see protests against them, when they are discriminated against or verbally assaulted. It offers awareness programs, supports the Allies {(whoop!)}, and encourages those seeking services to participate in the A&M community and follow the traditions. Forcing the resource center to split funds with a "traditional family values center" effectively dries up funding for the GLBT resource center which those fighting for the bill have admitted is the purpose in the first place. They really don't care about a "traditional family values" center.

It's time we all respect each other and treat each other as we want to be treated. We are the Aggies, a term which does not come with qualifiers. Let's act like human beings and stop with the politics and the discrimination. Let's stop the H8.

Notes:
-The pictures are from the recent walk organized by the GLBTA and the resource center to promote equality on campus.
-I welcome rational, polite, respectful conversation on this topic. I will not allow comments which are hateful {(to anyone)}. 

2 comments:

  1. That bill is a load of crap, and I'm disappointed in the Aggie Senate for proposing such a resolution. That said, I'm proud of the student body president for vetoing it. Hopefully the bill will fail too. (I'm trying not to use the precise language I feel like using lol.)

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