The Student Government Association’s transgender resolution


Photo courtesy of Nicky Cao

Senator Nicky Cao, one of the writers of the compound resolution.

Jack Waguespack, News Editor

During a recent SGA meeting, SGA President Kenady Hills introduced a compound resolution regarding the transgender community at UNO. In the wake of the Trump administration’s efforts to attack the transgender community in the U.S., Hills worked with fellow senators Nicky Cao, J.D Ligier and Cory Pitalo to write up a plan to ensure the safety and rights of transgender students. While this is a nice gesture from the student government in support of transgender rights and safety, what does it really mean for the future of the community?

The resolution highlights one of the more recent ideas from President Trump, focusing on “redefining the federal interpretation of gender to exclude transgender America’s identities,” as Hills stated in the opening paragraph of the compound resolution.

In the past few months, the Department of Health and Human Services have been trying to implement a “legal definition of sex under Title IX,” meaning people will not be able to legally change their gender markers on any state-issued documents, including licenses, birth certificates and school forms. It would leave the only options for gender as “male” and “female,” and gender would be determined by that person’s genitalia.

UNO students are allowed to change their preferred name in the system, and professors and administration will use the pronouns of the students choice. Trump’s plans could potentially create an unsafe environment for transgender students and faculty, where they would have to go by their “deadname,” or legal name, and not have the right to be called by their preferred pronouns.

The rest of the resolution addresses the basic rights and needs of the transgender community, including LGBTQ+ basic sensitivity training, use of their preferred name and pronouns, and the consideration of adding gender-neutral bathrooms and locker rooms to the recreational center.

Hills also ends the resolution with statements regarding keeping the line of communication open, such as “It is important that the University of New Orleans continues to have productive conversations and discussions on what it means to provide transgender students and all underrepresented students with every right given to majority populations.”

It ends with Hills and the rest of the senate challenging UNO and its administration to “reaffirm its nondiscrimination statement,” which ensures the safety and protected rights of all members of the university based on gender.

The bill was passed with no vetoes, but SGA still awaits a response from President Nicklow on the matter. Without a response or a plan of action, the resolution is basically a blanket statement from SGA that they stand with transgender and queer students.

While that is more than what many universities has done, a piece of paper cannot protect the many transgender lives on campus.

“Professors are scared to call on us in case they misgender us and some even still misgender me after correcting them multiple times,” recalls senator Nicky Cao.

If UNO and LGBTQ allies are truly concerned about transgender students’ quality of life, then they should implement a plan to continue protecting them even when the nation’s government does not.