To Our Queer Community,
On September 16th, 2022, the Youngkin Administration released their 2022 Policy Proposal with policies that discriminate against transgender and gender-nonconforming (TNGC) students in public schools. Specifically, this policy does not allow for a student’s ability to change their name or pronouns without parental or guardian approval. Additionally, public schools are required to “out”, or notify parents/guardians, of any student non-compliance with parent/guardian-sanctioned names and/or pronouns. We knew immediately that our individual Queer organizations at the University of Virginia were insufficient to face the sheer magnitude of our community's needs. For most of our histories as Queer organizations at UVA, we have faced inwards towards the UVA Queer community — our net of activism and advocacy not extending far beyond the University of Virginia. Yet, as the previous work of the Youngkin Administration has shown, our influence solely on the UVA community is inadequate for state-wide community change. When the Youngkin Administration released their 2022 Policy Proposal, we reinvented ourselves in terms of our collective efforts.
As of September 20th, 2022, Sigma Omicron Rho, the Queer Student Union, and oSTEM have combined our knowledge, resources, and efforts to create a united body. To answer the needs of our State and Local communities, we have created the Virginia Collegiate Queer Collective (VCQC). The VCQC is the largest mobilization of Queer collegiate organizations in the history of Virginia. Under normal circumstances, the VCQC will only actively operate through the Leadership Council, which will unite our organizations' leaders to share resources, information, and organizational updates with one another during the academic year. Under extraordinary circumstances, such as the 2022 Policy Proposal effects that face our entire State-wide Queer community, individual organizations can propose to initiate an Emergency Session. In an Emergency Session, the organizations’ leaders will undergo a brief period of meeting together, and with their own organizations, deliberate and vote on activating the VCQC into full-scale activity. On September 17th, Sigma Omicron Rho initiated the inaugural Emergency Session, and under a unanimous vote on September 20th, the VCQC began its first active session. Through this newly created body, we’ve contacted experts in policy and are deploying our first Action Plan, which will be released once final revisions are completed. This Action Plan is dynamic. The Action Plan is subject to change as we coordinate and respond to updates with National and State leaders in Queer rights, like American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), EqualityVA, and Side by Side. We need our community now more than ever before in any capacity available. Together, we are the strongest we have ever been. We will make a difference.
Thank you to Our Community from your Leaders -
Directors of the Virginia Collegiate Queer Collective