With campus’s shift to almost pure online learning since the spring semester of 2020, new and concerning problems have arisen for the transgender population of HSU.
“Don’t feel gaslighted into thinking this is the best you get,” AM Hueber, member and HSU undergraduate, said for transgender students at HSU.
Canvas and Zoom class spaces, compared to in-person classes, often have a more painstaking process of correction towards the offender. These struggles join the decades-long “whisper culture” on campus regarding where safe spaces and faculty members for transgender students reside.
Inspired by HSU student and AS Board Member Roman Sotomayor, in a presentation he held the fall semester of last year, the task force began as a small group of impassioned students and professors alike driven to change the social climate and resource accessibility for their trans peers. Now under the formal name of the Transgender, Nonbinary, and Gender Non-Conforming Task Force, members have begun the steps in helping facilitate and provide for the goals of this already over 30 members strong organization.
Hueber hopes to see the many plans coming out of the group come into fruition along with the future of a strong physical space presence after the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are over. They expressed that the university has a long road ahead if it hopes to regain its 2012 title of being “one of the most LGBT+ inclusive universities in California.”
Jenn Capps, Provost in Academic Affairs, expressed how the group has already begun to host faculty training for many of the departments at HSU. Many members of faculty were willing and wanting to learn how to provide properly for their transgender student but often lacked the knowledge and know-how to do so. Other resources the group is currently working to provide include the possibility of legal name-change workshops, trans support hotlines, advocacy reach teams, and a database of trans literature accessible to all students.
“At HSU we aspire to be an open and welcoming space for our students. Specifically for transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming students. You are important and this is important and near and dear to my heart,” Capps said with a nod of agreement from fellow member Elias Pence.
“You are not alone,” Pence said. “We are everywhere. We are students, we’re staff, and we are faculty.”