Members of the Pride Network recently created a petition to amend the student government constitution to add “gender identities and expression” to its anti-discrimination policy.This amendment is designed to protect students who do not exhibit their birth gender, such as transsexuals and cross-dressers. The petition requires a fifth of the undergraduate student body’s signature to be approved. The petition defines “gender identity and expression” as “having or being perceived as having a gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth.” Anna White, senior and social chair for Pride Network, cited two situations of discrimination that this amendment will prevent. One situation involved a man fired from his supermarket job for wearing women’s clothes at home while another dealt with a woman fired for being too aggressive and masculine. The issue of “gender identities and expression” has been apparent in other colleges as well. Brown University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rutgers University and Wesleyan University have already added similar changes to their constitution. At UR, some students do not feel that it is a real issue. “I don’t think we have a serious problem, but it is definitely a good step,” sophomore Erika Winkler said. Other support the amendment and believe it to be necessary. “Transsexualism isn’t like a handicap that might impair someone from being effective in the workplace, so it doesn’t make sense that transsexuals should be viewed as less eligible for employment just based on their sexual preference,” sophomore Dan Bromfield said. The project was initiated by Jon Herbert, President of Eastman’s Pride Network. Eastman’s Pride Network is also working to amend their anti-discriminatory policy. Pride Network has further plans once the constitution is amended. “While it’s important that it gets added to the SA constitution, the bigger goal is to get out there and talk to people about this, because a lot of people haven’t even heard of adding anti-discriminatory concepts,” White said. Pride Network will have a table set up in Wilson Commons today, to ask people to sign the petition and answer any questions people may have about the issue.Reichenberger can be reached at preichen@campustimes.org.



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