March 4, 2020 137 PM
I would like to thank Stephen Paulsen for his report on the hateful attack committed against the transgender high school student in Alpine. My family has lived in the Ft. Davis area for over five years now, and reading The Big Bend Sentinel is one of the ways I stay in touch with far West Texas when I’m away in Iowa City. I especially appreciate reading Mr. Paulsen’s reporting on communities in the far West Texas area that are often ignored.
Targeted violence against LGBTQ youth – especially in red states – is often severely neglected in being met with action. Mr. Paulsen’s reporting itself obligates readers to acknowledge a reality of the LGBTQ community.
At the end of his article, Mr. Paulsen noted that the Brewster County district attorney’s office would “pursue a hateful attack charge if the facts supported one”. I do not need to be educated in criminal law to understand through minimal research that much of Texas –
including Brewster County – does not have a law protecting the LGBTQ from housing, or employment, or even insurance discrimination. Nor are any protections offered, legally.
However, despite this gross lacking, dozens of Texas universities have created non-discriminatory policies for students based on sexuality and gender identity – or have created places for inclusion, like Sul Ross.
I believe it is the responsibility of Diversity and Inclusion Committee of Sul Ross to speak up on what is so obviously a hateful attack against a transgender student. This took place on their campus. While this person is not a student of Sul Ross, and all those directly involved are minors, this is still an occurrence of violence. An individual was apparently directly targeted by another because they are transgender, and they were beaten on a college campus.
As a queer university student myself, it deeply angers me that the loved ones of this individual feel neglected by those who have sought the power to protect. It also disturbs me that in the weeks following this hateful attack, the Alpine ISD has failed to unquestionably assert their priorities for student safety.
Whether I am here in Iowa City, Iowa, or visiting my parents in the Davis Mountains, I should not have to fear being assaulted because of who I am. No one should carry that fear, especially a 15-year-old student. If state law cannot educate Texans on the facts of human rights, then journalists will.
Columnist at The Daily Iowan
Statement from SRSU President Bill Kibler:
Last weekend, an act of violence against an LGBTQIA youth occurred in Alpine on Sul Ross grounds. While the incident did not involve students or personnel from Sul Ross, we condemn the nature of the violent act. Our university remains committed to ensuring a safe and secure environment and will evaluate our current policies for facility usage. We stand against this type of violence. The university will cooperate fully with law enforcement to provide any details that will assist with this matter. The Sul Ross Diversity and Inclusion Committee provided a statement to our university community (below) which expresses the sentiment that so many of us share. We pray that the families involved seek help for their children and find strength as they begin to process this life-altering situation.
If you or someone you know needs additional support, please see the resources listed below.
Statement from Sul Ross Diversity and Inclusion Committee:
Recently, a young LGBTQIA person was viciously attacked in the vicinity of university property. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee of Sul Ross State University condemns these violent acts. Students and community members have a right feel safe no matter their identity or affiliation. Diversity and inclusiveness are core values of Sul Ross and can only be achieved when the safety of Sul Ross students, faculty, staff, and Alpine community members is ensured.
LGBTQIA people have endured a long history of discrimination and violence. Furthermore, LGBTQIA youth are at risk for a multitude of mental and physical health difficulties due to social stigma and prejudice. Supportive environments play a crucial role in the survival and resilience of LGBTQIA youth. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee of Sul Ross State University is committed to promoting a learning environment and community that ensures the safety and inclusiveness of all students, staff, faculty and community members.
If there are LGBTQIA Sul Ross students or community members struggling, please consider reaching out for the appropriate support you may need. Local LGBTQIA knowledgeable and affirming resources are below.
Sul Ross State University
Counseling and Accessibility Services
Hours: 8-12 and 1-5 (Monday through Friday)
Location: Alpine Campus Ferguson Hall 112
Dr. Todd Russell
Location: 2623 Garner Field Road, Uvalde, TX 78801
Sul Ross Safe Space
Dr. S. Williamson
Email: [email protected]
Location: Alpine Campus Lawrence Hall 211
The GLBT National Youth Talkline (youth through age 25)
800-246-7743 (talk or text)
glbthotline.org/talkline.html (online chat available)
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