California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Gender X Law Matches Cal Lu Inclusivity

In the United States, citizens like to believe that we have the freedom to be who we want to be. In a time of hate and fear, however, freedom seems to be a privilege for the few.

This privilege applies to the few who always have a place or people to turn to. A privilege to identify yourself, to have a name of your own, or even something as simple as having a bathroom to use.

This should not be a privilege. Being who we want to be and belonging as we are should be a right to all.

California is stepping up to the plate. Our state has proposed laws to accommodate all of its citizens no matter how they identify.

California citizens no longer have to decide between female or male at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

In October 2017, former California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 179, which came into full effect Jan. 1, 2019.

According to the State of California DMV website, the policy โ€œallows individuals applying for an original or renewal Driver License (DL) or Identification card (ID) to self-certify to their chosen gender category of male, female or nonbinary.โ€

This legislation is an important win for the LGBTQ community. It allows people to hold official documentation stating who they are or what they identify as.

Daniel Tillapaugh has his Ph.D. in leadership studies and is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education. He is also a group leader for the LGBTQ faculty and staff affinity group at California Lutheran University.

โ€œI think that this is so important for folks who donโ€™t adhere to the false gender binary of man or woman because theyโ€™re able to have forms of identification that more authentically reflect their gender identity,โ€ Tillapaugh said in an email interview.

Being in California encourages the university to be more inclusive. This campus really does have a place for everyone to belong, especially the LGBTQ community.

Cal Lutheranโ€™s mission statement has a specific section on sexuality and gender inclusivity.

The statement says โ€œCalifornia Lutheran University is an intentionally diverse community committed to inclusivity and respect for the dignity and identities of each individual. As such, we welcome students, faculty and staff who are or come to know themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex, transgender, non-binary and/or queer.โ€

Cal Lutheran has done a good job of addressing its diverse student and staff population even though the religious affiliation of our school may seem daunting.

Cal Lutheran can have a scary ring to it for students who donโ€™t identify with organized religion, as it affiliates specifically with the Lutheran faith. But as students learn on campus tours and in our first days, this campus does have multiple beliefs represented in our community.

Sofia Herrera, junior and president of PRIDE Club on campus, was initially concerned with the Lutheran title at this school.

โ€œI know I was nervous when I first got here, Iโ€™m not even going to lie,โ€ Herrera said. โ€œBut as I said before, Cal Lu is very accepting and loving. And I do very much feel like the fact that they are so accepting and loving in other religions has opened their minds to be accepting and loving to other people across the board.โ€

Cal Lutheran has accepted the diversity that is a part of our world today, and this can be seen throughout policies and buildings on campus.ย  This campus has a Student and Employee Nondiscriminatory Policy that states the school will โ€œnot discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, or veteran status.โ€

At Cal Lutheran we have the freedom to be who we are, whoever that may be, and can belong as whomever or whatever we identify as.

California is starting to have more and more gender-netural accommodations and sometimes we forget that others across the U.S. may not have the same opportunities to enjoy these privileges.

California has worked hard to have such inclusive laws and legislation such as Senate Bill 129.

โ€œ[SB 129] just provides individuals an opportunity to have their forms of identification reflect their gender identity. I say โ€˜What’s wrong with that?โ€™โ€ Tillapaugh said.

Hopefully more states will acknowledge their citizens and begin to accommodate all, one day bringing these measures into federal law.

Identity should be a right for all, not a privilege for the few.

Lindsey Potter

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