March 5 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

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.

Still, I worry that a solid headline in the Big Bend Sentinel is not enough to protect students in the Brewster County – or in the Presidio and Jeff Davis counties, for that matter.

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.

Sincerely yours,

Becca Bright

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.

Local Resources:

Sul Ross State University

Counseling and Accessibility Services

Phone: 432-837-8203

Hours: 8-12 and 1-5 (Monday through Friday)

Location: Alpine Campus Ferguson Hall 112


Sul Ross State University Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Uvalde

Counseling Services

Dr. Todd Russell

[email protected]

Phone: 830-279-3025

Location: 2623 Garner Field Road, Uvalde, TX 78801


Sul Ross Safe Space

Dr. S. Williamson

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 432-837-8160

Location: Alpine Campus Lawrence Hall 211


National Resources:

Trevor Project

Available 24/7



The GLBT National Youth Talkline (youth through age 25)

800-246-7743 (talk or text) (online chat available)


Trans Lifeline



Dear Editor,


Cancel the Tokyo Olympics? Why? Trump said the coronavirus dies in April. He’s also claimed it’s the Democrats’ “new hoax.” Which is it?
Is Trump able to appreciate the complexities of a pandemic? Remember, he was unaware of the significance of Pearl Harbor’s Arizona Memorial, something fifth-graders know!
Trump doesn’t take bad news well, unraveling under stress. He gaslights, obfuscates and surrounds himself with “Yes, sir” appointees instead of seasoned professionals acting responsibly in an emergency. He’s purging those considered disloyal.
Prudence suggests investing in test kits, respirators, mobile quarantine wards and protective gear! This administration hasn’t. Loved ones may need to breathe!
Ignorance about the symptoms and consequences of Trump’s malignant narcissistic personality disorder – a mental illness – is costly. The world barely escaped WWIII with his ill-considered assassination of an Iranian General.
Resting comfy? We shouldn’t have to gamble our physical and financial well-being upon the dubious credibility of a vengeful grifter lying for expedience sake.
“Understanding” Trump is easy. Dr. Phil’s guests define dysfunction and enabling. Tony Schwartz’s (“Art of the Deal” ghost writer) concerns about Trump were spot-on.
But Trump’s only the pitcher. It takes two to tango. The pathology involves willing catchers.
Develop an emotional and political backbone to malignant narcissism. Knowledge is the best prevention against succumbing to Trump’s chronic mental disorder.

Sincerely yours,
Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah
Alpine, TX