By the time this is published in The Beacon, most of you will know about the change in the Nondiscrimination Policy that the Board of Regents approved last week. I’ll be the first to admit that I cried when I found out that sexual orientation was included because never in a million years did I believe that I would be here to see this change. This is such a monumental step in the University’s history that many have been a part of.
But in the midst of celebrating (and yes, let’s celebrate!), let’s remember that this is just a part of making UP the welcoming community that it can be. Let’s not forget our fellow trans* and gender queer Pilots who still aren’t covered in the policy with gender identity. Let’s keep in mind that this policy needs to be lived out throughout our community and as individuals, we need to make sure that this campus is a safe and welcoming one for every Pilot that comes our way. So to all of my fellow Pilots who are still waiting, know that I personally will continue to carry on to make sure you are completely safe.
For me, this policy change is incredibly personal. It means that the Board of Regents and the administration listened to students. It means that all of the stress and tears and vulnerability that came with sharing my story last spring was so worth the pain that it brought.
So, to the Board of Regents, to the administration, but especially to Fr. Beauchamp: I cannot thank you enough. Thank you for taking this step forward and thank you for making me feel proud to be a Portland Pilot for the first time in the 3-plus years that I have been here. Thank you for making me feel a little less broken.
Andrea Merrill is a senior sociology major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.