North Texas Daily

Chancellor Roe’s hurtful statements hurt the LGBTQ+ community

Chancellor Roe’s hurtful statements hurt the LGBTQ+ community

Chancellor Roe’s hurtful statements hurt the LGBTQ+ community
June 04
13:00 2021

The university is an equal opportunity institution that its own president says has “a responsibility to be at the forefront of change.” As much the school loves to remind people it is a minority and Hispanic serving institution, it fails to live up to the inclusivity it so proudly markets.

Instead, the university puts its foot in its own mouth by voicing ardent support for someone who is diametrically opposed and woefully misguided about the heart of certain issues.
Such is the case with Chancellor Lesa Roe’s recent public thanks to Denton County’s own Representative Lynn Stucky. She lauds Stucky for his work in securing funds for higher education in the Texas Legislature.

Considering Stucky’s recent involvement in a transphobic bill, it is a slap in the face to LGBTQ+ students. It is yet another reminder that true, genuine goodness within the political realm is in dangerously low supply.

On May 28, the latest update from Chancellor Lesa Roe was released to faculty and staff through email. While the newsletter has not been published in the ‘View from the Chancellor’s Office’ archives, it can be assumed that it will be soon. In it, Roe thanks Stucky for his role in allotting $380 million in formula funding to the university system. While accepting university funding is commonplace, having it come from someone with Stucky’s track record is yet another depressing double standard.

Stucky is the co-author of House Bill 68, which seeks to classify many gender-affirming healthcare procedures for transgender children as child abuse. The bill would criminalize several acts by medical and mental health professionals “attempting to change or affirm a child’s perception of the child’s sex if that perception is inconsistent with the child’s biological sex as determined by the child’s sex organs, chromosomes and endogenous hormone profiles.”

Some of these acts include genital surgery, mastectomies, puberty-blocking medications and the administration of testosterone and estrogen. The bill notes some exceptions for people born intersex along specific chromosomal lines. Given the rhetoric of House Bill 68, being a “forefront of change” comes off as weightless public relations speak and less of an affirmation to enact true social change.

While any topic concerning a politician is bound to upset some people, the issue of LGBTQ+ lives is not political. It is a question of human rights, plain and simple. The current climate makes everything a matter of political interest, making those who champion small, unintrusive government appear shamelessly two-faced, much to the surprise of no one. To see an office of the university extend its gratitude to a man that seeks to restrict the rights of potential and possibly current students is disappointing.

At best, it is an uninformed misstep. At worst, it is an uncaring action that prioritizes money over trans students’ rights. Regardless of intent, however, the implications are potentially catastrophic in a state whose legislators are seemingly hell-bent on demonizing LGBTQ+ rights.

While Roe’s comments about Stucky and his colleagues being “committed and relentless in representing our interests” are assumedly about the university’s financial interests, Stucky has most definitely not represented students’ interests.

In late April, protests were held outside the representative’s office, where students and locals alike vocalized their disapproval of HB 68. Denton city council member Deb Armintor perfectly summates the hypocrisy of the bill: “It is totally antithetical to their opposition to government overreach. It is government overreach.”

If history proves one thing, it is that a power-hungry government oppresses the voices and rights of those who are simply wanting to make an easy go of it. Lesa Roe’s statements, harmless gratitude on the surface, only exacerbate the struggles of LGBTQ+ youth in Texas. It is naive and tone-deaf, the exact opposite of what a progressive leadership ought to be.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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