Target: Dean of the University of Vermont, Antonio Cepeda-Benito
Goal: Applaud the decision to add a third, neutral gender option for students.
The University of Vermont has recently made the decision to add a third, neutral gender option for students. The L.G.B.T.Q.A. Center at the University has allowed students the option to specify a neutral gender, pronouns, and name they wish to go by. Applaud the efforts by the University of Vermont to accommodate students presenting themselves outside of traditional gender-binary terms.
This movement has taken place over several years, with members of faculty lobbying for change in an effort to create a more accepting, comfortable environment for students to present themselves in any way they choose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that LGBTQ youth are more than twice as likely to commit suicide as heterosexual youth. This is largely due to a lack of visibility, and a feeling that one does not have a proper place in society. Creating space for individuals to choose how they are referred to, without feeling the pressure of a hetero-normative society, is a huge step in eliminating this isolation.
Several universities across the country have taken steps to educate faculty on the transgender community and the ways in which they can make students feel more comfortable in their own skin. This includes the use of various pronouns, referring to students by their desired names so as to not risk outing them, and an increasing number of LGBTQ Centers where students can congregate to discuss their concerns and inspire change.
Thank the University of Vermont for its momentous leap forward, and this huge win for LGBTQ students.
Dear Dean Cepeda-Benito,
Your recent decision to allow a third, neutral gender option has made a world of difference for many students, and plays a vital role in a larger movement. For years now, LGBTQ students have been feeling out of place in society, unsure of where to turn for acceptance and accommodation. Rather than turning away from the problem, as so many have done, you have decided to address the issue and ensure there is a place for every student, regardless of gender or sexuality.
These efforts have been long in the making, and I would like to congratulate your success. Students at the University of Vermont no longer need to worry about accidental outing, name confusion, or unnecessary questions. You have created a platform for students to simply express their desired pronouns, name, and gender, and see these needs met with ease. Thank you for your role in the LGBTQ movement, and for creating an excellent example for institutions everywhere to follow.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: ParaDox via Wikimedia Commons