Students hold rally in wake of anti-LGBTQ Virginia bill
BY MIA WISE, ASSISTANT CAMPUS EDITOR
The Mason Pride Alliance, along with Transgender Queer Mason and Arrows and Aces, organized a rally Feb. 7.
These organizations, which are communities for LGBTQ students but welcome all identities, held this rally to raise awareness of a recent bill, HB2025, that was passed in the Virginia House of Delegates.
HB2025 states that no person will be forced to accept a same-sex marriage or punished for not accepting the marriage if it goes against their religious or moral beliefs, according to Virginia’s legislative information system website.
Those who attended the rally started conversations about how they felt about the bill, which passed the House Feb. 2 and passed the senate Feb. 16.
“To me it’s important to build community and to learn about the bills that are going through the House that might make life harder for queer people in Virginia and trans people,” graduate student Anne Bolgiano said.
Some students took the rally as an opportunity to connect with others in the community and have their voices heard.
“This rally is extremely important to me because, especially with the current political climate, it’s important that we get our voices heard and shown to people that are higher up,” sophomore Mallory Vaughan said. “A lot of us feel like we’re lost and a lot of us, our rights are being trampled on as people, and it’s extremely important that we get our voices out there and the people know what we’re about.”
HB2025 will be reviewed by the Senate committee in the coming weeks. In response to the bill, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vowed to veto any bill that discriminates against LGBTQ people.
“I know that especially Pence has a long history of being extremely anti-LGBT rights. I mean, being a pansexual woman myself and my girlfriend is transgender, whatever policies they want to put forward, chances are they’re not going to be very good, especially for people like me and people like my girlfriend,” Vaughan said.
Although the Trump administration has not proposed many bills aimed at LGBTQ people, some fear LGBTQ rights could be restricted or revoked in the next four years.
“It’s kind of terrifying honestly, but I feel like if we keep on moving and make sure our voices are heard and make sure that they know that we’re here and we don’t shut up then hopefully we can try to make a difference,” Vaughan said.
Mason has an anti-discrimination policy that protects the LGBTQ students here on campus, but the Pride Alliance stressed that students cannot thrive if they are refused service off campus.
“We will not stand for this targeted attack on the rights of the LGBTQ community,” the Pride Alliance said on their Instagram.