A resolution to address concerns of transgender students became a heated debate at the Texas Junior College Student Government Association (TJCSGA) Region II spring convention on March 1. It lasted for almost two hours as arguments in favor and against the resolution filled the room.
Due to time constraints, there had to be a vote. In the end, the resolution would become one of the proposals to be proposed at the upcoming Student Government Association (SGA) state convention.
The resolution proposes the integration of new gender-neutral restrooms on all Dallas Community College District (DCCCD) campuses, with the intent of establishing a safe environment for transgender students.
The idea came after acknowledging that almost all colleges in the district do not have private toilets. In addition, Texas has the fifth-largest transgender population, with an estimated population of 125,130 adults identifying as transgender, based on a 2017 survey by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation, and the Gender Identity Law Public Policy from the School of Law of the University of California.
The same resolution was proposed during the fall 2018 state convention but did not get enough support of the DCCCD leadership. The language in the original proposal dictated the renovation of restrooms to be retrofitted as gender-neutral. The resolution was rejected due to financial and resource limitations.
Matthew Waller, a member of both the Resolutions Committee at the TJCSGA convention and SGA for Brookhaven College, introduced the updated resolution during the regional spring 2019 convention.
“When coming up with proposal ideas [during last year’s regions conference] to make a change, transgender issues had the strongest voice,” Waller said. “We wanted to propose something meaningful. We wanted to give transgender people a voice.”
Richland president of the Pride at Richland Club, Avery Hall, is ecstatic about the updated resolution.
“[The resolution] provides open doors for a lot of people to feel more comfortable when they have to go to school,” Avery said. “You won’t necessarily have to wait to go to the restroom and wait till you get home.”
Christopher Iversen, North Central Texas College SGA representative, shared his opinion about why the resolution may not pass.
“First of all, it probably takes way too much time and those who are in charge probably don’t have the time. They got too much stuff on their hands,” Iversen said. “It’s nothing against transgender people. They can do whatever they want. I just don’t see it as pretty much convenient at this time.”
While the resolution may have had a victory at the regional convention, its fate is still undecided. Nevertheless, Waller has confidence that the resolution will pass this time.
“This time we word it in a way there wasn’t enough confusion. We have a great resolution and great people to represent it at state,” Waller said.
The decision regarding the approval of the resolution will be held on April 13 at the TJCSGA State Convention.