Thursday, April 10, 2014

UH Josephine Tittsworth Act Town Hall Meeting

photo of the University CenterI've been saying to the UHD Gators during my last several visits on their campus that I've spent more time visiting One Main Street than I have on my alma mater's campus since I came back home in 2010.

Well, seems like that imbalance of visits to the UH campus versus UHD is starting to rapidly change in the other direction.

Last week I was honored to be invited to speak at the Britney Cosby and Crystal Jackson vigil held at the AD Bruce Religion Center on campus.  

This week I got a chance to finally see the newly renovated UH Student Center and attend a town hall meeting yesterday afternoon in a packed SGA Senate Chambers.

Logo of University of Houston Athletics.pngThe town hall was called to give the UH community an opportunity to discuss the Josephine Tittsworth ActThe UH SGA proposed this piece of legislation that seeks to have the University of Houston follow its existing EEO and non discrimination policy by allowing trans* UH students to update their university identification with their preferred name, discerned gender and titles

Shouldn't be that controversial, right?   Well, one unidentified UH senator has been spreading lies and falsehoods about the Tittsworth bill and gotten the frats and sororities stirred up in the process.

A panel comprised of UH LGBT Resource Center head Lorraine Schroeder, UH SGA senators Guillermo Lopez and James Lee, UH SGA President Charles Haston, SGA Senator emeritus Josephine Tittsworth and 2014 Trans 100 honoree and UH senior Lou Weaver spent two minutes each making initial statements dispelling the myths and lies that had arisen concerning the Tittsworth bill before opening the floor to written questions.  

While the town hall was surprisingly civil, two of the questions asked were the highly offensive to the trans community bathroom predator and sexual offender ones I hear far too often from GOP operatives opposing trans human rights laws.  It not only made my eyes visibly roll and loudly scoff upon hearing them, it also made me wonder if there were campus Republicans in the room trying to stir up 'fear and smear' transphobic trouble.

Before the town hall concluded after 30 minutes,  Haston reminded everyone that diversity on the UH campus is not just ethnic diversity, but also includes diversity of opinions and thought and LGBT diversity.

Since I wasn't in any hurry to head back home right away, I consented to an interview along with Josephine about the Act with Daily Cougar reporters Kelly Schaffer and Cara Smith.  We talked about Houston and UH trans history, and discussed the positive effects UH could expect from the Tittsworth Act should it gain SGA approval.  

I also had a chance to talk to several cis and trans UH students and talk a walk around the newly renovated building that is way different from the 1967 UC I was familiar with before heading home.

Will keep you posted on the developments concerning the Josephine Tittsworth Act as it moves toward a final vote.      

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