UC Davis should be an active ally to LGBTQIA students, faculty, staff

UC Davis should be an active ally to LGBTQIA students, faculty, staff

Photo Credits: CAITLYN SAMPLEY / AGGIE

More funds, resources need to be allocated toward LGBTQIA Resource Center, other student services

UC Davis is celebrating Pride Month throughout May, with this year’s theme being “Collective Healing for Liberation: Healing Our Past, Embracing Our Present, Reclaiming Our Future.” Pride Month is “dedicated to bringing visibility, empowerment, and knowledge to our communities,” according to the LGBTQIA Resource Center website. A calendar on the website details various events and activities throughout May, including free anonymous HIV testing, movement healing, community-led sex ed and sound meditation.

Even though UC Davis offers resources — such as the LGBTQIA Resource Center, the Women’s Resources and Research Center and Student Health and Counseling Services — both the number of staff and their times of availability are not adequate for the large number of students attending our university. Institutional policies continue to marginalize communities and threaten the well-being of students. UC Davis needs to do more than simply hang a pride flag or change its Instagram profile picture. Counselors also need to be better equipped to discuss and handle LGBTQIA-sensitive topics, and the university needs to allocate more monetary and structural support to the student staff centers that provide critical resources for our campus community. The Cross Cultural Center, for example, should have more funds allocated toward it rather than face budget cuts. Additionally, the Health Education and Promotion program needs to provide more anonymous HIV testing, as there are only three days per quarter during which it is offered at the LGBTQIA Resource Center.

The university also needs to help transgender people facilitate the process of changing their preferred names on identity documents, including those for FAFSA and scholarships. Students should be able to go to class without fearing being called their dead names or be marked down as a different gender than the one with which they identify. And although UC Davis has some gender-neutral bathrooms — such as in freshman dorms, the Student Community Center and the Memorial Union — it needs to implement more of these around campus so that students don’t feel harassed or threatened by the social stigmas surrounding anything that slightly deviates from the societal norms.

Students, staff and faculty need to be better educated when it comes to inclusive language, as to not be offensive to certain groups of people. Everyone should be able to feel safe and included, no matter how they identify. Actions speak louder than words, and UC Davis needs to make more of an effort in taking concrete, actionable steps rather than merely sending out an email or posting a photo. Last month, Gary May released an open letter calling on the FDA to overturn the restrictions it places on men who have had sex with men donating blood. Although statements of solidarity or support are important, they don’t replace material actions that tangibly improve the lives of LGBTQIA students, faculty and staff.

The Editorial Board commends those advocating for better resources and outreach to students, and demands that the university and top-ranking officials make more of an effort to support its students so that UC Davis can be the inclusive university it claims to be.

Written by: The Editorial Staff