Proposed legislation impacting members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersexed community will be the focus of the Policy Insider Advisory Committee’s January session of the “Policy Insider Series,” a monthly succession that aims to educate students on various social issues.
“The idea is to make policy issues more relevant and meaningful to attendees and to increase attendee’s awareness about ways they can get involved in the policy process,” assistant professor of the UH Graduate College of Social Work Suzanne Pritzker said.
Through a partnership with the GCSW, a community coalition called One Voice Texas and the PIAC, the Policy Insider Series, invites experts in various fields to speak about issues that affect students of all backgrounds. This month’s meeting is called “LGBTQI Texans and State Legislature, an Insider’s Perspective” and will host legislative specialist Daniel Williams at Equality Texas.
“The goals of this event are to educate attendees about specific bills that will be considered by the Texas legislature that are focused on issues with particular relevance to LGBTQI Texans,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker said another goal of the session is to help empower students and other attendees to better participate in the legislative process overall, and to raise awareness of how policies in Texas impact the LGBTQI community.
Some policies currently being debated that specifically impact this community include proposed legislation that would prevent same-sex marriages in Texas. A little closer to home, a battle over the Equal Rights Ordinance introduced by Mayor Parker is still raging, and the trial is expected to last two months, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“Other policy areas that impact LGBTQI populations receive much less media attention,” Pritzker said. “For example, funding and services to support homeless youth, a disproportionate number of whom are LGBTQI (are overlooked.)”
The committee is currently working to become an official organization on campus. Future topics for the series include the elderly, mental health and education.
“It is our hope these informative educational lunch experiences will shed light on how policy affects each of us and how we can be advocates of change,” committee member and law student Greta Bellinger said.
The meeting is open to the general public, and will take place from 12-1:30 p.m. Jan. 31 in the Social Work Room 110J.