From 2009 to 2014, Texas A&M University in College Station was consistently on The Princeton Review’s list of “Unfriendly schools for LGBT students.” But in 2016 the school was removed from the list and this week, the school showed further progress when its Student Senate passed two resolutions in support of LGBTQ students.
According to KBTX-TV, the local CBS news affiliate, the first resolution expresses support for the school’s new LGBTQ resource center, acknowledged past students who advocated for improved student equality, and “recognizes Texas A&M for sponsoring, for the first time, an appearance at the 2017 Houston Pride Parade.”
The second resolution encourages the university to create more gender-inclusive restrooms on campus. Right now the school only has two gender inclusive bathrooms located within its psychology buildings.
These two resolutions are particularly remarkable when you consider that The Princeton Review has also listed A&M as one of the most religious schools in the U.S.
Despite the progress though, advisers and former students say the school has room for improvement.
“I hear about both good and bad stories,” says Krista May, an adviser for the LGBTQ+ Aggies and Transcend, student groups. While she says the school has expended its resources for LGBTQ students, “Homophobia and transphobia happens in the classroom and is not necessarily endorsed by the instructor but is allowed to happen.”
Camden Breeding, a graduate from A&M’s class of 2013 who also served as president of LGBTQ+ Aggies group, said many LGBTQ students still experience discrimination.
“When I was on campus I remember that the Texas A&M Student Senate worked really hard to try and defund the LGBT resource center,” Breeding said.
He continued, “There were some really great opportunities for the university to have taken a side and shown support for the LGBT community, but their silence really spoke volumes about the lack of support that we had on an institutional level.”
Texas A&M elected its first openly gay student body president, 21-year-old junior Bobby Brooks, in 2017.