SGA all for identity bill
At the final meeting of the 45th administration of the Student Government Association on Wednesday, the Senate unanimously approved a resolution to include the phrase ‘gender identity and expression’ into the Universities nondiscrimination statement.
‘All we are asking for is due process. All of us on this campus should be allowed due process,’ said Josephine Tittsworth, SGA senator and co-author of the resolution.
The resolution is aimed to help transgender students feel free to be themselves and not live in fear of discrimination.
‘It is really important that all students, faculty and staff know that they are in an environment that they can flourish,’ Tittsworth said.’
Tittsworth said she feels strongly about gender identity not only because it is a human rights issue, but also because transgender discrimination is something she has experienced personally.
A group of students echoed Tittsworth’s sentiment and appeared before the Senate to promote approval of the resolution and to tell their stories.
‘I am part of one of the only unprotected groups,’ second-year clinical psychology doctoral student Stacey ‘Colt’ Meier said.
‘It is time for all people to be protected against discrimination.’
Former Faculty Senate president Wynn Chin spoke on behalf of the resolution and pledged his support.
‘I think this amendment will help at least say ,’Let’s sit down and have a discussion,” Wynn said. ‘It’s been 31 years since I was at the candlelight vigil of Harvey Milk’s assassination and personally, for me, for this group, we ought to pass it.’
SGA president Sam Dike also expressed his support for the resolution during his report.
‘No one should be discriminated against,’ Dike said. ‘It is not about your beliefs; it is about not standing for discrimination.’
The senators who spoke at Wednesday’s meeting supported the resolution and shared Dike’s belief that the legislation was about not standing for any kind of discrimination.
This is the second time SGA has approved this resolution. The resolution was first brought to SGA last year, and it was also unanimously approved.’
Despite SGA’s continued support of the resolution, the administration has not amended the University’s nondiscrimination statement.’
Tittsworth said she believes this is because it has either not reached UH President Renu Khator or because the administration is ignoring it.
‘I want you to know that just because a person may be transgender or expressing themselves opposite to their birth sex, they still have a mind. And if they don’t feel welcome to come to this campus, then we wasted a mind,’ she said.’
‘This campus needs to draw the best minds around, so that we can become the university to go to. You do that by drawing the best minds and eliminating barriers that keep the best minds away.’
Tittsworth said by eliminating discrimination for transgender and homosexual students UH can become a flagship university. She said 50 percent of flagship universities and 44% of Ivy League universities protect against gender identity discrimination.
‘We are not alone on these issues,’ she said. ‘This is something that is inevitable. I just rather see it happen sooner than later.’
SGA plans to open communication with the administration now that the resolution has passed unanimously for the second time and hopes to get the legislation approved by the University.
‘No one is communicating to us,’ Tittsworth said.