SGA’s ‘Campus Expression of Self Act’ seeks identification rights for LGBTQ+ students

Kendall Canez, Reporter

As one of the most diverse campuses in the Texas A&M University System, TAMU-CC has always fostered the belief that diversity is its greatest asset. In this way, it is only natural for the Student Government Association (SGA) to follow the University’s lead and take action to ensure all students of different backgrounds and identities enjoy the same college experience.

Recently SGA took another step forward by passing a piece of legislation called ‘The Campus Expression of Self Act.’ According to Mo Jenkins, Graduate Studies Senator and author of the resolution, it normalizes “the use of pronouns and assists students who may not identify with the ‘assumed’ pronouns that come with their gender expression.” Senator Jenkins hopes that the University will “adopt a system where students can have their preferred name, pronouns and prefix on the official University roster, Blackboard and other places where this information usually appears.”

William Hammond, College of Liberal Arts Senator, commented that in addition to giving students more freedom, “it also recommends that the university enforces the use of gender- neutral language with its businesses” and recommends that the University also use such neutralized language in their marketing, institutions and subsidiaries.

The number of LGBTQ+ students enrolled is not tabulated by the University but without this knowledge it is also unknown how many LGBTQ+ students are unable to express themselves authentically due to outdated and non-inclusive practices.

Students who are misgendered by peers, staff or faculty can be faced with a great sense of stress as the pronouns and prefixes used by others may not align with the gender they identify with. As a non-binary individual themselves, Senator Jenkins believes it is necessary for the University to recognize LGBTQ+ students and allow them the freedom to voluntarily update their personal information as they progress through their gender identity.

There is no timeline as to when the University will respond to the legislation put forth. However until that time allies of LGBTQ+ students can help them feel more comfortable by creating an environment of acceptance and understanding when they refer to themselves by their preferred pronouns and prefixes.