Guest opinion: Trans Alliance and Spectrum support BLOC Party

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Guest opinion: Trans Alliance and Spectrum support BLOC Party

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The University of Iowa Trans Alliance and Spectrum UI have dedicated their time on campus to ensuring queer and trans students feel safe and have a sense of belonging at our university. During the last few student-government elections, Spectrum has endorsed tickets and candidates who have presented platform initiatives that directly affect the lives of queer and trans students on campus. This year, there is only one ticket running for UISG that fits the bill: the BLOC Party.

The Yes Party has said it wants to provide leadership to improve the inclusion of “queer folk,” but BLOC candidates are the ones with real experience in addressing the concerns of queer and trans students at the UI.

BLOC presidential candidate Rachel Zuckerman has personally advocated for gender-neutral housing at the UI. She has served on the Committee for Gender Inclusive Policies and Practices, a collaborative committee with representation from Spectrum, Trans Alliance, WRAC, resident assistants, Delta Lambda Phi, and more. Zuckerman worked with this committee to advocate for more training for RAs on queer and trans identities, improved assignment processes for trans and non-binary students in housing, and transition health-insurance coverage, among others.

BLOC is running on a platform with a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and in that are several initiatives directed at improving campus for trans and non-binary individuals. BLOC backs the changes being made to UI record-keeping, which will ensure that all students’ pronouns and preferred name will be reflected in the record system, and officials plan to ensure this change is carried out in a timely and thorough manner.

The UI has made great progress in recent years with the addition of gender-neutral restrooms in places such as the IMU and Petersen Residence Hall. BLOC wants to build on the progress that is underway to create more safe restroom spaces on campus. An all-campus restroom audit is underway, and the results will help identify single-use restrooms that can be converted to gender-neutral restrooms. During the next UISG term, BLOC plans to make significant progress toward the goal of having at least one gender-neutral restroom in every major campus building.

RELATED: Welcome to the BLOC Party

Another platform initiative is to advocate for trans-inclusive health insurance. Current student-health-insurance plans do not cover hormones or surgeries that are medically necessary for many transgender people. When this treatment is inaccessible, studies show that these individuals experience higher rates of mental-health and substance-abuse issues. This trend ends up actually costing health-insurance companies more than if they provided the initial transition coverage. BLOC will work with UI officials to expand health-insurance coverage for all transition needs.

BLOC executives and senators have done background research and developed the base necessary to make these visions a reality. They have had conversations, made critical connections, and garnered significant support for these changes. This foundation is irreplaceable and essential to the completion of these initiatives.

Finally, BLOC is committed to listening to students’ concerns and finding new ways to support the queer and trans students at the UI. Zuckerman and running mate Lauren Freeman are devoted to learning about our communities and the ways we can be better supported on campus. As new problems or solutions arise, we are confident that they will take action to make meaningful change.

Therefore, Trans Alliance and Spectrum voice their full support for BLOC and encourage students to vote for them Wednesday and Thursday.

 

Sean Finn and

Jeremy Fogel

UI Trans Alliance

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