Administrators took a positive step forward by revising a university policy to now protect transgender faculty, staff and students against gender expression and identity discrimination.
However, it is worrisome that the anti-discrimination rule for gender identity was not already included in the policy. In an April 17 University Star article, administrators said the reason behind this was because the university wanted to ensure practices were in place to protect transgender people. This reasoning is weak and insufficient.
Potential Texas State employees and students could very well have been hesitant about becoming a Bobcat before the policy was amended. Candidates for university positions and prospective students will hopefully feel more comfortable knowing Texas State recognizes gender identity and expression as important issues to the community.
Recognizing the need for equality and an environment that is inclusive of the transgender community highlights the steps the university is taking to make Texas State a safe place. This is important because it allows the LBGTQIA community to know Bobcats are trying to educate themselves more about the issues surrounding them around campus.
An example of Bobcats educating themselves is knowing the difference between sexuality and gender identity. This distinction plays a major role in why the transgender part of the LBGTQIA community is sometimes excluded. Gender identity deals specifically with whether someone identifies as a male or a female, whereas sexuality covers whom someone is attracted to.
To help address these discrepancies at Texas State, there are groups like Trans*cend that cater to and provide support for transgender students, faculty and staff. Alliance is another organization that works at promoting diversity and healthy interactions between all Bobcats.
Efforts by these specific groups have led to the inclusion of gender-neutral bathrooms in all of the new construction projects around campus. The creation of these bathrooms is helpful because beforehand it might have been uncomfortable or awkward for transgender people to use public restrooms at Texas State, but the move shows the ability for Bobcats to adapt with the times.
The editorial board wishes administrators had acted sooner in amending the anti-discrimination policy but recognizes the efforts that are being made now. The changes that have been made will give Texas State an advantage in recruiting more diverse groups of students to campus and will get the message of inclusiveness across.
All Bobcats deserve equal protection and a feeling of acceptance when they come to Texas State. The university has now made a progressive step into making that a reality for everyone who is part of the Texas State community.