Trans Nondiscrimination Summit is this weekend in Houston

For the third year in a row, the annual Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit is being held Aug. 12–13 in Houston, hosted this year by the University of Houston Department of English in the Roy G. Cullen Building.

The summit features keynote speakers Dr. Paige Schilt and Megan Stabler. For the third year in a row, the ACLU will be represented, as it has been since the conception of the summit. Representatives of ACLU and Phyllis Frye, Frye and Associates PLLC, will discuss case law related to trans issues on Aug. 12 and 13, respectively.

According to the Facebook page for the summit, a total of 9.75 credit hours will be available to professionals needing licensing requirements, and the symposium has been approved for .X CEUs or X.0 Clock for all social workers by the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston.

The University of Houston is one of the few colleges in Texas that specifies “gender identity and expression” in its nondiscrimination statement. Others include Rice University, University of Texas at Austin, South Texas College of Law and University of Texas Pan Am.

The University of Houston has also issued the Izza Lopez Memo that indicates discrimination against transgender employment is not tolerated.

On Aug. 12, the Houston Transgender Unity Committee and the Houston Transgender Center have collaborated to host dinner for the attendees at their center.

While online registration is now closed, participants can still buy tickets at the door. Regular registration is $20, and $10 for students.

To learn more about the Summit, visit their webpage at HoustonGLBTCommunityCenter.org/TexasTransgenderNondiscriminationSummit/

— Draconis von Trapp

—  John Wright

A&M deemed unsafe for transgender conference

In the wake of an effort to shut down the school’s LGBT resource center, Texas A&M University has been deemed an unsafe venue for an upcoming statewide transgender conference. The third annual Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit, set for August, has been moved to the University of Houston to protect “the safety for the participants,” the Houston Press reports:

“The climate at A&M for GLBT people has taken a big hit, and right now anything can fuel those fires,” the group said in its announcement.

Organizer Josephine Tittsworth cited the A&M administration’s muted reaction to the conservative protests for the move. “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,” she said.

Back in April, the Texas A&M Student Senate voted to support a budget amendment by State Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, that would have required schools with LGBT resource centers to equally fund centers for “family and traditional values.”

The Student Senate measure was later vetoed by the student body president, and Christian’s amendment was stripped from the final state budget. But LGBT advocates say the episode has fostered a climate of hate at A&M, which already ranked among the most homophobic schools in the country.

—  John Wright