Campus, News

Boston University Student Government approves multiple funding requests

Boston University Student Government approved funding requests for Gender Affirming Product Program and World Ocean Day in a meeting Monday night.

Boston University Student Government meeting March 20. StuGov discussed funding requests for the Gender Affirming Product Program and World Ocean Day on Monday. KATHERINE DALY/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

The first funding request of the night came from “Q,” the Queer Activist Collective, to provide students access to Gender-Affirming Products at no cost through the Gender Affirming Product Program.

GAPP was started in September 2021, after a survey released by “Q” in March 2021 revealed barriers to GAP for trans and nonbinary students.

Requests for funding were denied by the Dean of Students, although StuGov subsidized an $1,800 request for a pilot program for GAPP at the LGBTQ+ Wellness Fair in November 2021. Later that year, they received a $10,000 grant from the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ+ Youth that enabled them to fully launch the program.

“Each semester we open up our programs so that we can find transgender, gender non-conforming, intersex students, gender affirming products,” said Sergio Aguirre, a sophomore in College of Arts and Sciences and the vice president of “Q.” “These gender affirming products … are extremely expensive, so for a lot of trans students on campus, they’re not the most readily accessible.”

GAPP offers one free product per student per academic year. The range of products offered includes binders, hair clippers, shapewear, packers, tucking underwear and stand-to-pees, among others.

Student testimonies detailed positive experiences with gender affirming products. One student who received the STP said, “I immediately felt relief from the dysphoria and insecurity I experience every single day.”

“Q” requested $3,026 from StuGov, drawing from product requests they had already received to come up with a cost.

“This itemization is around … 65% of the requests that we’ve already received,” Aguirre said.

The request also included money to pay a therapist for consultation sessions with students to make sure they were using products safely.

“If you’re buying a binder and you don’t know how to use it, it can be incredibly dangerous and damaging to your body, especially if it’s not properly sized,” Aguirre said. “So it is absolutely essential that we do have therapists there so that people can actually go and try on a binder and see how it feels.”

One argument incorporated into the funding request was that approving this request would allow StuGov to make reparations for their history of transphobia, specifically for their proposal of gender-neutral housing in 2012.

Gender-neutral housing has long been an issue for trans and nonbinary students at BU, with students sharing experiences of misgendering, deadnaming and being forced to pay more, among other problems.

The funding request was approved with 30 votes.

The next funding request was for World Ocean Day, an event centered around discussions on rising sea levels and climate change.

Epsilon Eta, an environmental fraternity, partnered with Climate Creatives, a nonprofit focused on merging sustainability with art and design, to create a workshop based event scheduled for April 27.

Climate Creatives and Epsilon Eta would host a workshop where students would create fish-shaped flags whose heights represent rising sea levels. The flags, arranged across the BU Beach, are expected to help raise awareness for climate change.

“It’s very much a hands-on interface and students and anyone who walks by can’t just ignore it or kind of look away,” Stephanie Hung, a sophomore in CAS and Youth Advisory Council member for WOD, said. “It’s kind of very much there and you have to pay attention to it.”

The $850 funding request detailed materials needed for students to make the flags, on which they could write their personal sustainability goals.

The funding request was approved with 27 votes.

The final budget-related item on the agenda was a discussion of the reallocation of the Community Service Fund, which can be found here.

More Articles

Comments are closed.