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Queer Council Holds Forum

By Samantha Latos; For the Clock
On March 9, 2017

Queer Council Holds Forum 

Samantha Latos

For The Clock

slatos@plymouth.edu

On Friday, March 3rd, the Plymouth State University Queer Council held an open forum on transgender rights in the Bradford Room in Center Lodge. Several students attended to show their support and voice their con- cerns. They gathered together to publicly announce their dismay over the Trump administration's newest decision related to how schools react to transgender students.

Title IX is a federal law that makes it illegal for schools to discriminate based on gender. Discrimination takes many forms, and guidance documents are regularly added to keep the act up to date. The most important guidance documents have been about how to handle sexual assault, and how to determine when schools are allowed to teach single-sex classes. Schools must abide by these documents in order to comply with the law. Active since 1972, this act has protected the rights of millions of young men and women.

In May 2016, the federal government put out an innovative guidance document addressing how to protect transgender students. Thanks to the request of school administrators, faculty is now legally obligated to treat transgender children how they deserve to be treated. Transgender children have the right to be treated according to their gender identity. This includes using their preferred names and pronouns, and using gender appropriate dress codes and bathrooms. Recently, the Trump administration announced they will be removing this guidance document of Title IX.

The Queer Council met last week to show their support for those affected by the Trump administration’s decision. Members want everyone to know that they are allies for the LGBTQ+ community. Although this has devastated many people, it is important not to back down in this fight. Liz Ahl, QC member and English professor, was there to voice her opinion. “All people deserve to be treated fairly, with dignity and most importantly, equally under the law”, she said, “It's important to protect the rights of all citizens.” She wants students to feel like they have the same rights and opportunities. Every student in every school deserves to feel safe and respected on their campus.

Meredith Ryan, President of PSU Pride, attended the meeting to voice her concerns for the LGBTQ+ community. These changes in legislation make it crucial that we keep our campus a safe place for everyone. Although saddened by the Trump administration's decision, she still believes we all need to care, because we are all affected in some way. She believes that PSU is supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, but reforms still need to be made. “Say, if a trans student needed to use the restroom in a building that did not have a safe bathroom for them to use, they would have to walk all the way to the HUB,” she said, “Their cisgender classmates would never have to worry about finding a safe bathroom in their building.” The remov al of this guidance document is unfair, inconveniencing, and demoralizing to transgender students. To avoid this, the utilization of gender neutral bathrooms is an impactful first step.

Pride is an excellent outlet for anyone who is having a hard time with learning who they are. “Being President of PSU Pride gives me the opportunity to help those who are struggling to come to terms with their own identities,” Meredith said, “When I was younger, it was extremely difficult to accept myself, and joining Pride as a general member helped me to do so”. Joining Pride helped her become who she is toda y. Now, she actively tries to be a good role model for others.

Meredith, like many, believes that transgender rights are human rights. PSU Pride will take the week of April 10th to host fun, acceptance-related events. Students are encouraged to attend, to show support for the LGBT+ community. To those who are interested or looking for support, PSU Pride meets every Monday at 7 p.m. in Rounds Hall 103. 

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