Hank Johnson, a Democrat and the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 4th congressional district, has introduced a new bill in hopes of empowering LGBTQ students at America’s History Black Colleges and Universities.
The bill, titled the Inclusive Campuses Act, comes at a time when making LGBTQ students feel safe and supported at HBCUs across the country remains an ongoing conversation.
“We should be doing all we can to help everyone feel welcomed and included,” said Johnson, a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and The Thurgood Marshall School of Law. “As a proud graduate of two HBCUs, I feel this legislation is crucial in continuing the legacy of community and inclusion I felt as a student.”
According to a press release,
Less than 30 percent of HBCUs have active university-sanctioned LGBTQ-specific organizations on their campuses. Additionally, less than 20 percent of HBCUs include gender identity/expression and sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination statements. Often times, this has led to the alienation and emotional distress of LGBTQ students while creating campus environments of fearful silence and passive intolerance.
By building upon the innovative efforts to establish LGBTQ resource centers at North Carolina Central University, Bowie State University and Fayetteville State University, the bill will promote full diversity, acceptance and inclusion of all students who attend HBCUs and other minority serving institutions.
The Inclusive Campuses Act is endorsed by a number organizations, including Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, Campus Pride, National Black Justice Coalition, Trans Student Educational Resources, and Fayetteville State University.