We, the staff of the UNM Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Resource Center would like to thank ASUNM for passing a resolution Wednesday, Dec. 8 concerning a gender-neutral restroom in the SUB. Thank you for supporting transgender students, faculty and staff and working towards the safety, equity and inclusion of our LGBTQ community. These restrooms are not only for the LGBTQ community but are also helpful to families with small children as UNM has a large number of non-traditional students.
The gender-neutral restroom in the Resource Center gets used on a daily basis, but it is unreasonable to expect the student body to come to the LGBTQ Resource Center every time they need the restroom. We agree with ASUNM that it is important to increase access by adding a gender-neutral restroom in the SUB. There are a few more gender-neutral restrooms scattered throughout campus and the Center’s staff are currently working on compiling a map of safe restrooms to be released in the spring semester.
According to the article, Sen. Alonzo Castillo stated, “In the month of November, only five people signed in to the LGBTQ Resource Center.” This is incorrect. The LGBTQ Resource Center had more than 226 service visits during the month of November. We are clear that the mere existence of the LGBTQ Resource Center has helped support the success of students at UNM because of the numbers that have been served.
The LGBTQ Resource Center also realizes that with our increased visibility on campus there is the possibility for additional discrimination. With that said, we would like to bring attention to the fact that the rainbow flag that was flown in the LGBTQ Resource Center’s courtyard has been cut down and stolen. This is an act of vandalism against the LGBTQ Resource Center and has been reported to the UNM Police Department and the FBI.
The rainbow flag is known in the US as a symbol for the LGBTQ community and its many sexual orientations and gender identities. Our flag served as a visible symbol of LGBTQ Pride on the UNM campus. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 added sexual orientation and gender identity to the federal hate crimes law. This display of homophobia expressed by the removal of the rainbow flag serves to demonstrate and reinforce the need for the UNM LGBTQ Resource Center. We hope to bring awareness and appreciation for LGBTQ issues and identities instead of just tolerance.
The LGBTQ Resource Center will continue to support UNM students, faculty and staff of all gender identities and sexual orientations. We will have a “Welcome Back” event and raise the rainbow flag again in honor of the LGBTQ students and community early next semester. For more information visit our website at lgbtq.unm.edu.
LGBTQ Resource Center Staff 2010