Organizers for the 3rd Annual Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit have decided to move their location from Texas A&M University in College Station to the University of Houston.
The event, which was scheduled for August 12-13 of this year, will now be hosted at the University of Houston’s central campus near downtown Houston. The TTNS was created to teach their host universities, representatives of other universities and interested persons about the issues and interests of transgendered students, faculty and staff, including in housing, health services, transitioning on the job, legal issues and policy changes.
Josephine Tittsworth, the event head, said the biased atmosphere at the traditionally conservative Texas A&M could provide an unsafe location for participants, many of whom are gay or transgendered. She added that “the lack of supportive responses from TAMU administration has been perceived as condoning a campus that is not affirming for members of the GLBT community.”
“It’s our interpretation that we have to be sure the safety of the participants is taken care of, and we were not that confident about that,” Tittsworth said.
“When we requested the cancellation of the rooms, we didn’t explain and they didn’t seem too interested in the reason for it,” she added. “Our not being there has a financial impact on Bryan-College Station; our people go to hotels and restaurants wherever the summit takes place, and they spend their money.”
Tittsworth doesn’t believe the location change will affect the program, but she believes it could affect who can attend.
“This event is not about the campus,” she said. “We give people the opportunity to come and learn about transgender issues, but some people can’t travel, so having the summit at different universities allows them the opportunity to go.”
The first summit, which was hosted by the University of Houston in 2009, saw representatives from six universities, while last year’s event at Rice University saw 20 universities represented. Maria C. Gonzalez, a member of the Summit board, said UH was accommodating and welcoming of the event’s participants.
“The University of Houston has held the Summit on campus before without any problems, so we anticipate the environment will again be appropriate to everyone regardless of their gender expression or sexual orientation,” she said.
More information about the summit, including the exact times and locations, will be released online at www.houstonglbtcommunitycenter.org/texastransgendernondiscriminationsummit and to e-mail subscribers.