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Equity meeting: College should improve safety of LGBT students1 min read

February 26, 2016

Anti-transgender graffiti found in a gender-neutral bathroom at De Anza College was a hate crime, the director of the Equity Office told a meeting of staff, faculty and students on Feb. 10.

Administrators had been invited to the joint meeting of the Equity Action Council and the Queer Interviention Taskforce. President Brian Murphy attended, as well as a Foothill-De Anza police officer.

Stephanie Rigsby, 24, psychology and chemistry major, volunteers at the Jean Miller Resource Room on campus, a safe space for LGBT students. She expressed her concerns about the climate on campus.

“People will say stuff like, ‘Oh, it’s OK that there was this hate speech because there are no trans kids at our school,’ or try to explain how they think it’s understandable why the transgender community was attacked, and that really hurts,” Rigsby said.
Attendees discussed small steps that could be taken to strengthen support for transgender students and faculty.

“Though progress is being made, it’s much slower than it needs to be,” said Melissa Epps, 21, sociology major. “We also need a more straightforward ay to show students what resources they have access to. We do have many great groups and programs both on campus and in the community and we need to find a better way to share those resources with those who most need them.”

An other idea brought up at the meeting was educating De Anza faculty about how to act around transgender students in the classroom.

Veronica Neal, director of the Equity Office, mentioned the lack of support from non-LGBT people.

“We need to build ourselves a community of allies with more depth and breadth,” Neal said. “This hate crime serves as a reminder that it is so important that we do so.”

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