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First Hurdle for UH Gender Expression Bill

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The University of Houston’s student government council has passed a gender identity nondiscrimination bill.

After past attempts by various groups to get the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act past the student-representative council, the LGBT Advocates organization was able to get a unanimous assent to the bill.  GENDA would modify the university’s nondiscrimination policy to protect gender identity or expression on campus, giving transgendered and nongender-conforming students, faculty and staff more freedom.

Sexual orientation was added as a protected status several years ago.

James Lee, president of the organization, which started on the campus last year, said the vote was a long time coming.  He said

“We’ve had several bumps along the way, but we finally got the votes,” he said.  “This is not the end of the road for changing the nondiscimination policy, though.”

The proposal needs to cross three more hurdles before it can become official policy: The next step is the UH faculty senate, followed by Chancellor and President Renu Khator, and then the Board of Regents.

“They are all (Texas Gov.) Rick Perry appointees,” Lee said.  “We’re hoping they approve the request at the Nov. 16 meeting.”

LGBT Advocates is seeking volunteers to help spread the word about the bill around campus and gain more support in the hope that it will influence the board.  Previous efforts to pass the bill have stalled at various stages.

“Before this time (the student council) passed similar resolutions, but they didn’t take it and keep pushing it forward,” Lee said.  “We hope this is the final time we have to do this.”

For more information about LGBT Advocates at UH, call 832-356-8578 or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LGBTAdvocates

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