Transgender Evacuee Arrested at Texas A&M

30 September 2005

Office of the President
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX

Dear President Gates:

I am writing on behalf of the Brazos Progressives to express our dismay
upon learning that Sharli’e Vicks, a transgender evacuee from New
Orleans, had been arrested and imprisoned earlier this month after
being told that she couldn’t use the shower facilities designated for
females at Reed Arena. While we are very relieved that Ms.Vicks was
released from jail, that all charges against her were dropped, and that
she was reunited with her family in Houston, we believe that the Texas
A&M officials who were involved in Ms. Vicks’ arrest acted
insensitively and aggressively. The Brazos Progressives would like to
see Texas A&M issue a public apology to Ms. Vicks, along with a
public assurance that Texas A&M is doing everything it can to
ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again. As a coalition of individuals, groups, and businesses working
together to build progressive community in the Brazos Valley, the
Brazos Progressives strives to create awareness of and support for all
forms of diversity in order to create a community that welcomes
everyone. We applaud the efforts of the many volunteers from Bryan and
College Station who have worked together in a spirit of unity and good
will, helping those who have been devastated by recent hurricanes.
Certainly, many individuals and organizations in our community have
acted selflessly and have been sensitive to the needs of all
individuals.

At the same time, we are troubled by the University’s treatment of Ms.
Vicks. We encourage the University to work closely with the Office of
Institutional Assessment and Diversity, the Women’s and Gender Equity
Resource Center, and the GLBT Professional Network at Texas A&M
University to educate the University community so that transgender
individuals will be treated with compassion and sensitivity. University
administrators set an example for the citizens of our community; we
believe that creating a welcoming atmosphere for all individuals should
be a priority of the University and our larger community. We encourage
Texas A&M to work towards healing the divisions in our community by
developing procedures and policies that ensure fairness and equity in
the treatment of all individuals, regardless of their gender identity,
sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, physical ability,
religion, or political affiliation. The National Center for Transgender
Equality (NCTE) has developed guidelines that would certainly serve as
a useful reference for formulating such policies: Making Shelters Safe
for Transgender Evacuees (http://www.nctequality.org/SafeShelters.pdf).

Brazos Progressives works hard to promote and celebrate diversity
in our community, and we invite the University to join us in this
effort. We are happy to do whatever we can to help Texas A&M in its
efforts to create a climate that is welcoming to everyone. Please do
not hesitate to contact me at the above mailing or e-mail address if we
can be of any assistance.

Thank you for taking our concerns seriously.

Sincerely,

Krista May
Chair
Brazos Progressives
College Station, TX

cc: James Anderson, Vice President and Associate Provost, Office of Institutional Assessment and Diversity

Becky Petit, Assistant Vice President, Office of Institutional
Assessment and Diversity

Brenda Bethman, Coordinator, Women’s and Gender Equity Resource
Center

William Perry, Vice Provost, Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

Leah Devun, President, GLBT Professional Network at Texas A&M
University

Harris M. Berger, Faculty and Staff Committed to an Inclusive Campus

Chris Danos, President, GLBTA

Mitzi Kaufman, Making Aggieland Safe for Everyone

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