Thursday, April 24, 2014

Time For Trans College Students To Run For SGA Seats

I know you trans students matriculating on our nation's college campuses have a lot to deal with not only managing your personal lives, but handling your academic business with finals coming up.  

Best of luck to all of you.  But when that's over and you destress from dealing with finals, Moni has something else she wants y'all to think about during the summer and consider doing when you come back to your campuses in the fall

Own your power and run for seats in your SGA's.

So what's an SGA?   It's your campus student government association.   They are the liaison between the students, faculty and university administrations.  They provide appointments to a variety of internal SGA and university committees, task forces and boards that establish or influence a wide range of policies, procedures and the general direction of academic and nonacademic programs and services offered on your various college campuses. 

And they have a national organization in the American Student Government Association that supports them..

It occurs to me after watching the drama that transpired in the UH SGA over the Josephine Tittsworth Act and the attempt of the XULA SGA to sneak this blatantly transphobic ballot question on the Xavier student body, it is past time for trans students on every college campus they matriculate on in the United States to starting next school year, seriously consider running for and winning seats on their SGA's.

I say that because we trans folks can't always count on having trans allies in SGA's to eloquently articulate our issues as Yesenia Chavez, James Lee, Guillermo Lopez and UH SGA President Charles Haston did recently at the University of Houston or the other college campuses like LSU and Sam Houston State in which pro trans legislation passed and is headed up the administrative leadership chain.  

In some campus SGA's we will have people in them who are future trans oppressors, proud of it, and  who harbor enough transphobic animus to pen anti-trans legislation.   We will have cisgender SGA members with enough ignorance concerning our issues to let slide stuff like the transphobic ballot initiative that L'lerret Ailith is battling as I write this on her XULA campus. 

We need to have trans peeps in SGA's to talk about our trans lives and break down that ignorance.  Most importantly, we need trans SGA members in them not only proposing campus legislation, but in position to kill the bad stuff before it gets going.

And if you are in an SGA, consider running for a leadership position in it or serving on the leadership of a committee to hone your leadership skills before running for the presidency of it.  That will if you win that office, put you in an even more powerful position to strike down bad legislation with your veto pen or propose good ones.

I've always said that transpeople need to be at the table helping write legislation, not begging to be included in it.  The events of the Spring 2014 semester have convinced me that yes, that needs to be expanded to sitting at collegiate SGA tables as well.

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