Wayne Christian

Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, made yet another attack on the GLBT community Thursday with his attempt to revive an amendment that would significantly reduce support for gender and sexuality centers at universities in Texas.

If passed, the amendment to SB 1, the Senate budget bill, would have prohibited colleges and universities from using state funds to support gender and sexuality centers. It would have also banned colleges from using university facilities for the centers.

After nearly 45 minutes of debate and after Democrats raised a point of order that would have affected the entire budget bill, Christian withdrew his amendment, according to The Texas Tribune.

During the regular legislative session, Christian proposed an amendment that would have required universities with gender and sexuality centers to spend at least as much in appropriated funds on a family and traditional values center that promotes heterosexual behavior.

The proposal was added to SB 1, but the Senate removed it when reviewing the bill. As a result, it appears Christian decided to take a harsher, more direct approach last week with the amendment to completely defund gender and sexuality centers.

If Christian’s proposal had passed, GLBT communities and their allies would have lost a tremendous amount of support and resources.

Nevertheless, without realizing the irony, Christian told the House, “I pray for the day that we actually can sit and discuss things and bring those walls of prejudice down.”

House members did just that when they rejected Christian’s discriminatory amendment last week.

OK, I can’t take it anymore. It’s time that I just get this out of my system and let the world know my true feelings so that I can finally be at peace.

I’m straight.

Whew, I feel so much better now.

Being a straight male in college is a very difficult thing, and oftentimes I feel like there is absolutely nobody I can relate to.
Fortunately, on April 1, the Texas House of Representatives intervened. The House passed a budget provision requiring all state universities receiving taxpayer funds that support on-campus gender and sexuality centers to construct “family values centers,” as well. According to Rep. Wayne Christian, who authored the amendment, the new centers will advocate for heterosexual, traditional values. The amendment stipulates that the amount of funding appropriated to a traditional family values center on a campus cannot be any less than what is appropriated to “support a gender and sexuality center or other center for students focused on gay, lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, transsexual, transgender, gender questioning or other gender identity issues” on college campuses in Texas.

While it goes without saying, Wayne Christian is nothing short of a modern day hero for sticking up for heterosexual lifestyles on college campuses. As a straight male at a large public university, there are very few support networks to guide me towards a lifestyle that the Bible — I mean — the state deems acceptable.

One could argue that this amendment is little more than a state-mandated slap in the face to the GLBTQ community at the taxpayers’ expense and that it serves as nothing more than political posturing by the Republican majority in the Texas Legislature, which claims that slashing the budget is a priority but at the same time is willing to give funding to blatantly wasteful ideology-driven projects. You could argue that, but that would fail to account for how difficult it is to be a straight college student in 2011.

Just last weekend, I approached a girl at a bar and asked her if she would care to practice being heterosexual with me, and I was outright refused. I was left embarrassed about my sexuality with no government-funded campus building to turn to. It’s difficult to escape the societal pressure on me to be gay.

I came to college with the same plan as most other men: to meet a wife who will stay at home, cook dinner and have two and a half children with me. Let’s see Lady Gaga write a song about that for a change. This amendment is right on target — traditional is just better.

But unfortunately, it’s so easy to lose sight of the strong Christian — I mean family values that have guided this country throughout its history. With all the funding and attention given to the GLBTQ communities on college campuses, heterosexuals are seemingly forgotten. It would be so refreshing to have a place on campus that could remind me of what the dominant ideology in American society is.

Although the UT College of Liberal Arts was recently forced to eliminate all funding to the Center for Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies, the Center for East Asian Studies and the Humanities Institute on campus because of budget cuts, it’s nice that the Legislature realizes what does deserve funding. This is America and times are tough. That means we need to invest more in learning about ourselves and less in learning about anyone different from us, especially commies.

Once again, I’d like to applaud members of the Texas House of Representatives for their bravery in supporting the creation of traditional family values centers on Texas campuses. It will be so refreshing to have a place at UT where I will have a support network to help me cope with the difficulties of being heterosexual.

Now the hard part will be finding someone to oversee all the new centers.

I heard Glenn Beck is free.

82nd Legislature

State university campuses with gender and sexuality centers could have to add a “traditional family values center” that receives equal state funding if an amendment to the House Budget Bill from Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, succeeds.

The House passed a version of the budget that included this amendment Sunday. While presenting the amendment, Christian said universities such as UT and A&M would be affected because they have gender and sexuality centers that offer and encourage education about “alternative sexual practices.”

“This is not restricting [alternative sexual practice education],” Christian said. “If they’re going to [offer such education], they have to match the center, the dollars, the mortar and the cost of taxpayer dollars for traditional values. You would be able to go to The University of Texas and A&M and attend their heterosexual gender and sexuality centers.”

Gender and Sexuality Center director Ana Ixchel Rosal said according to her interpretation of the amendment, it will not affect UT since the center’s current $180,000 annual budget is not funded by state dollars.

“We get funding from students services fees and individual donations,” Rosal said. “So technically the University has not appropriated any state funds to support the [Gender and Sexuality] center. So a traditional family value center would get no [state] money because the state doesn’t fund us.”
Christian’s chief of staff Jon McClellan said the amendment was intended to affect UT and other universities, and they will look into Rosal’s interpretation of the amendment.

“That is news to us. I have a feeling our group has a different idea of what constitutes as receiving state funding than the Gender and Sexuality Center does,” McClellan said.

McClellan said as far as he knows UT would still be affected by the amendment.

“Obviously if the Gender and Sexuality Center is not funded by taxpayer and state dollars, [the center] would not be affected by it,” he said. “It’s going to be up to the implementation of the lawyers from the state and UT and all that.”

The amendment text defines alternative sexual practices as “gay, lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, transsexual, transgender, gender questioning or gender identity issues.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, asked Christian to define “pansexual,” which caused laughter throughout the chamber. The amendment must still be approved in a joint committee, where the budget bill will head next.

“While it is humorous to you, it is humorous to me what we are allowing [gender and sexuality centers] to do with our tax dollars,” Christian said during the debate.

Rosal said the amendment did not surprise her but wonders how the bill will define traditional family values.

“We see all types of families and all those have traditions that go all the way back,” Rosal said. “I’m not exactly sure what is meant by that.”

One student said the proposal is only fair to support the diverse needs of the campus.

“For those people who do agree with LGBTQ, there are plenty of people who don’t [agree],” said Republicans on Campus President Justin May. “I think it’s important that as a University, there’s a free exchange of ideas and education. It’s appropriate that institutions provide information representing all viewpoints.”

Ben Kruger-Robbins, co-director of UT GLBT advocacy group StandOut, said the amendment will inhibit the possible growth of the Gender and Sexuality Center.

“These are really crucial resources for both providing a sense of community to LGBTQ and allied students and also promoting education to LGBTQ causes,” Kruger-Robbins said.

Kruger-Robbins said the item will only put more weight on an already-strained University budget.

“In a legislative session that’s supposedly focusing on budget cuts, funding family value centers is actually detrimental to the causes the Legislature purports to be working towards,” he said.