By: Jianna Vasquez
One-hundred percent of Americans use the restroom, but only one percent of the population face the issue of which bathroom to use.
As of Feb. 22, President Trump rescinded protection for transgender students that had previously allowed them to use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity. President Trumps decision will not affect many Americans, but to the one percent of transgender people this decision will affect all of them.
“I feel like now is the most important time to speak out and to speak up to protect people’s rights, all different people who are subjected to their rights being taken away,” said Agricultural Extension Education Major and President of Gender Diverse Aggies, Max Meyer.
The transgender community around America has been battling the “restroom issue” for over a year.
Last May, former President Barack Obama, had instructed public schools to let transgender students use the bathroom that matched their chosen gender identity. Schools who did not comply were threatened to have their funding withheld. Transgender people around the nation took this as a big step towards social equality and victory for their civil rights.
Although, President Trump has rescinded the bathroom guidelines that were in place, the Supreme court will have the final say as to whether Title Nine –part of the nations educational amendments— not only covers sex discrimination in schools, but if the amendment also extends to gender identity.
Gender Diverse Aggies (GDA) is a student group promoting gender diversity and the expression of all genders. GDA has mapped all gender neutral restrooms on the NMSU campus and are working actively to convert these to unisex stalls.
GDA not only wants to bridge the education gap that most people face when it comes to the subject of transgender people, but they also want to ensure that the campus is safe for everyone.
“We’ve been working on closing that gap and making sure that people have the correct information,” said Meyer.
Meyer, a California native, arrived in New Mexico in 2015.The lack of resources Las Cruces had for the transgender community prompted him to help start up the organization.
“It was shocking and frustrating,” said Meyers. GDA was built from the ground up. In two years since starting up the organization, several doctors in Las Cruces now care to the transgender community and prescribe them with hormone replacement therapy.
Not only has the transgender support grown within the NMSU campus, but it has also grown in the Las Cruces community. The transgender resource center of New Mexico has also established a support group here in Las Cruces. The support group has have helped many transgender people have a sense of belonging within the community.
Along with the transgender community making themselves known in Las Cruces, GDA has also made many accomplishments on the NMSU campus.
“We’ve come very far in the past couple of years,” said Meyer.
The organization has established the name change policy. This system was put into place so that transgender student would be able to change their name on myNMSU and on the class rosters. Teachers must use students preferred name.
Go to the LGBT+ programs to ask about more information about this policy.
The Campus Medical Center has also trained their staff on LGBT issues and how to respectfully address transgender students and can also be used a resource for any transgender medical needs.
Transgender people have a high suicide rate, and high depression. About half of the transgender population will attempt suicide, but GDA wants the transgender community to know that there is support here at NMSU.
During these times when many new decisions are being put in place for our country, GDA will continue to promote the protection and serve the transgender community at NMSU.
“If anyone else would like to help us in this fight then come to Garcia Annex, Thursday’s at four,” said Meyer.
For more information on Gender Diverse Aggies you can contact them at GDA@nmsu.ed