An Open Letter To LGBTQ High School Students Considering Texas A&M

Howdy Prospective Aggie!

Unfortunately, the troubling story of Texas A&M’s Student Senate has reached beyond the bubble that is my beloved Aggieland. On Wednesday night, the group passed a “Religious Funding Exemption Bill,” which would allow students to opt-out of paying a portion of university-required student fees for “religious purposes.” Beyond perpetuating discriminatory practices veiled as religious freedom, this bill attacks funding for A&M’s GLBT Resource Center and diminishes the value of the campus’ gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer community at-large. It’s a shame that these vile efforts are happening at the world-class institution that is my alma mater.

To be clear, I love being an Aggie. My voicemail greets you with “Howdy,” A&M gear hangs throughout my Philadelphia apartment, and it is likely that my first-born will be named Johnny. This pride doesn’t change the fact however, that A&M’s GLBT community has struggled for acceptance for almost four decades. In 1976 a group of students embarked on a decade-long, legal battle ending in victory with the recognition of A&M’s first “Gay Student Services” (GSS). Our community was not silent then, and we will not be silent now. While the backlash that has occurred as a result of this current attempt to undermine our community is embarrassing for those of us who are no longer in College Station, it has served as yet another example of the network that exists, made of GLBT Aggies and allies who are ready to stand up for the school they love and the values it stands for.

As a community we deserve better than this. We deserve access to resources and organizations, funded the same as every other group on campus. Like the 12th Man on game day in the face of adversity, we rally together as a united voice against any effort to marginalize any student or group. This is the Aggie Family I know, and I am exceptionally proud to be a part of it.

Coming to terms with my sexual orientation was a personal struggle while at A&M. I was a member of the Corps of Cadets and I wondered if I would have the support of my peers. But as I started coming out, I was reminded of the reasons I chose A&M. I experienced the love of a family, the foundation of an incredible network, and a supportive community that is unlike any other. When you talk to other Aggies, you’ll hear similar experiences. They’ll show you their ring and tell you about the traditions, the camaraderie, the stories of running into Aggies across the country or around the globe, and the pride they feel every time they hear “The Spirit of Aggieland.” These are the stories that make A&M unique.

As you decide where you will attend college, please don’t make an assumption about Texas A&M based on a misguided minority. I promise, it is not representative of the education or values that we are taught to uphold. I’d hate for you to miss out on the opportunity to be a part of this family, based on the primitive views of very few.  

Gig ‘Em,

Danny Hernandez ‘09

Co-Signed:

Jacob Abernathy ‘11

Thomas Abernathy ‘12

Jennifer Aguilar ‘03

Renee Aguirre ‘11

Robert Aguirre ‘07

Sarah Alacron ‘13

Lauren Allison ‘10

Kelson Astley ‘11

Grant Atkinson ‘11

Robert Atmar ‘08

Michelle Attah ‘10

Mokhtar Awad ‘12

Ashley Babjack ‘09

Emily Bach ‘16

Eric Bailey ‘09

Erin Bailey ‘11

Julian Bailey ‘12

Joanne Baptista ‘07

Juan Barajas ‘11

Tom-Floyd Barnes ‘10

Keri Bean ‘10

Jessica Beathard ‘12

Casey Beck ‘09

Susan Beggs ‘12

Sarita Bertinato ‘12

Sierra Berto ‘10

Valerie Blakey ‘07

Steven Bitner ‘05

Rachel Boenigk ‘12

Ryan Boenigk ‘14

Frank Bolado ‘07

Emily Bowles ‘09

Camden Breeding ‘12

Stephen Britt ‘08

Clorissa Brooks ‘08

Adam Bruce ‘10

Amanda Bruns ‘09

J. Riley Bryan ‘09

Shelby Buffington ‘12

David N. Bumpass ‘13

Dustin Burke ‘09

Jenny Callahan Weinburg ‘03

Amanda Camarata ‘12

Conrad Camit ‘96

Ryan Cano ‘12

Carter Capehart ‘06

David Carter ‘09

Stephanie Cerovsky ‘09

Bobby Chamber ‘13

Courtney Champagne ‘13

Andrew J. Chier ‘07

Jesus Cisneros ‘10

Justin Clark ‘11

Joshua Collins ‘09

Madeline R. Colwell ‘12

Clayton Cook ‘09

Steven Cooksey ‘07

Reed Correa ‘16

Sara Cousins ‘10

Andrea Cox ‘07

Daniel Cox ‘06

TIffany Creecy ‘09

Michael Crosa ‘14

Cory Davis ‘08

Jennifer Davison ‘10

Franky De La Garza ‘09

Carissa Delgado ‘09

Vanessa Delgado ‘09

Michele deWaal ‘94

Daryn DeZengotita ‘87

Todd Dock ‘12

Connie Donnellan ‘08

Christin Douglas ‘07

Megan Drescher ‘13

Brad Dressler ‘96

Jennifer DuBose ‘13

Eduardo Duran ‘15

Jesse Echeverria ‘10

Lacy Edelen ‘06

Michael Ellis ‘07

Sterling Ericsson ‘14

Matthew Escamilla ‘07

Dalton Esparza ‘09

Michael Espericueta ‘11

Jennifer Evans ‘99

Jessy Faulkner ‘10

Luis Fayad ‘14

Aaron Flores ‘11

Amanda Flores ‘08

Luis Flores ‘15

Katie Foster ‘10

Eric Fraga ‘09

Jeffrey Frankens ‘11

Justin Freebourn ‘09

Noel Freeman ‘03

Roger Gäss ‘06

John Galindo ‘09

Damian Garcia ‘15

Kyrsten Garcia ‘11

MacKenzie Garfield ‘10

Enrique Garza ‘08

Mario Garza ‘12

Rebecca Garza ‘15

Tyra Gent-San Miguel ‘09

Carrie Gereau ‘11

Daniel P. Gilleland ‘08

Jai Girard ‘09

Daniel Giyanani ‘14

Rachel Giyanani ‘07

Curtis Glenn ‘90

Abilene Gonzalez ‘10

Karla Gonzalez ‘12

Luis Gonzalez ‘09

Michael Gorse ‘14

Dustin Grabsch ‘10

Rebekah A. Grmela ‘11

Devin S. Guilliams ‘08

Amanda Hahn ‘12

Chelsea Haizlip ‘13

MoNique Hatch ‘09

Rick Hedrick ‘10

Kirsten Henderson ‘11

Caroline Henley Brown ‘08

Michael Henry ‘08

Christopher Hensley ‘12

Emy A. Hernandez ‘04

Manny Hernandez ‘11

Nancy Hernandez ‘06

Vicente Hernandez ‘15

Rito Herrera ‘13

Kelsey Hicks ‘16

Trent Hightower ‘04

Blaine Hine ‘09

Morgan Hiser ‘12

Chris Hollister ‘83

Mike Holloman ‘94

Ryan Hoog ‘04

Clint Hooper ‘09

Kyle Hough ‘08

Joshua Hughes ‘12

Chelsea Hunt ‘13

Natalie Ingram ‘07

Rachel Jackson ‘10

Josahan Jaime-Santacruz ‘07

Pamela Jaska ‘10

Emily Jay ‘14

Elise Jemmott ‘10

Emily Jewell ‘10

Jason John ‘12

Natalie Jones ‘06

Bryan Junker ‘10

Lowell Kane ’11

Matt Keneson ‘09

Leslie Kennedy ‘04

Cadence King ‘02

Shannon Knox ‘08

Tyler M. Krueger ‘12

Wade Lanham ‘04

Melinda Latas ‘10

David Tyler Lea ‘09

Michael Lea ‘99

Ivana Leon ‘10

Judy Webb LeUnes ‘76

Ian Riley Lewis ‘00

Lauren Lluveras ‘10

Jennifer Logan ‘02

Roxanne Longoria ’06

Lola Lott ‘82

Patrick Lukingbeal ‘06

Casey Lutz ‘07

Gennie Lynn ‘05

Rudy Madrigal ‘08

Alex Maldonado ‘09

Grace Matthews ‘10

Gabriel Marenco ‘12

Greisa Martinez ‘10

Oscar Martinez III ‘13

Nicole McAfee ‘12

Carolyn McArthur ‘09

Taharka McCleave ‘10

Kailey McKenzie ‘12

Adrian Medellin ‘13

Lauren Medina ‘09

Kelly Mickelson ‘07

Chelsea Molina ‘12

Lindsey Mondon ‘13

Laura Montoya ‘12

Giselle Morelius ‘09

Ally Murray ‘08

Sara Musquiz ‘14

Salma Nasser ‘15

Andrew Nelson ‘12

Dave Nelson ‘00

Drew Neumann ‘13

Jessica Newcomb ‘08

Emily Nielsen ‘12

Derek Nido ‘11

Liz Nilsen ‘06

Kelsey Nolen ‘03

Chelsea Noriega ‘11

Ann Nguyen ‘10

Jasandra Oeffinger ‘11

Mario Olivarez ‘09

San Juana Ortega ‘10

Valerie Ortiz ‘08

Hunter Palmer ‘11

Richard Parker ‘11

Bryan Parra ‘13

Brittany Parrish ‘08

Rowdy Patterson ‘09

Olivia Pelayo ‘09

Sarah Pelayo ‘11

Sarah Pena-Ho ‘05

Mark Perez ‘11

Samuel Pineda ‘08

Alyson Pond ‘11

Aiden Powell ‘11

Andrew Prado ‘11

Audrey Proza ‘12

Paula Puckett ‘82

Brittany Quintanilla ‘13

Kimber-Lea Raef ‘14

Umair Rafique ‘10

Karen Ramos ‘11

Kristine Ramos ‘08

Tyler Reed ‘09

Lauren Reichstein ‘08

Miranda Reinhard ‘14

Niki Reinhard ‘13

Nicole Resweber ‘12

Will Reynolds ‘11

Jacquelyn Rex ‘09

Jonathan Reyes ‘16

Courtney Riley ‘09

Amanda Roberts Mather ‘00

Emily Rocio ‘12

Daniel Rodriguez ‘13

Madison Ropp ‘11

Ana Rosas ‘02

Jonathan Rowley ‘08

Miranda Russ ‘09

Elise Adriana Saenz ‘09

Rachel Sames ‘10

Rick Sanchez ‘07

Victor Sanchez ‘11

Chelsea Scarpinato ‘16

Victoria Scurlock ‘12

Robert Shaw ‘08

Laura Small ‘09

Matthew Soler ‘10

Edward Soto ‘07

Andrea Soule ‘09

Zach Spencer ‘06

Nicky Spitzenberger ‘14

Veronica Stark ‘10

Jason Staggs ‘10

Melanie Sweeney Bowen ‘06

Austin Swift ‘09

Gabby T’Joen ‘15

Jeff Taylor ‘02

Stephen Timmreck ‘09

Lee Thompson ‘10

Noé Treviño ‘08

Maggie Toothaker ‘03

Halley Tucker ‘12

Ashton Turnbow-Gray ‘10

Josh Tutt ‘15

Ivan Valdez ‘10

Belinda Valenzuela ‘07

Jack Van Cleave ‘01

Sidney Vand ‘10

Katelin Vargo ‘11

Armando Villarreal, Jr. ‘99

Erika Villarreal ‘08

Soila Villarreal ‘07 

Diany Villanueva ‘09

Mariana Villanueva ‘14

Sarah Vines ‘12

Erica Weinberg Ferguson ‘06

Chris Westgate ’11

Joshua Weston ‘12

Elizabeth Welch ‘12

Jami Wells ‘03

Fred Wert ‘14

Cody Whitaker ‘07

Dylan Widis ‘15

Darrell R. Wiggins, Jr. ‘02

Ryan Williams ‘01

Jamie Anders Wilson ‘05

Lauren Wood ‘13

Robyn Wooderson ‘11

Leslie Wright ‘08

Michael Young ‘12

Tania Zanabria ‘10

Erica Zavala ‘09

Monica M. Zavala ‘11

Zelma Zavalaga ‘10

Jose Luis Zeyala ‘14

Angie Zuniga ‘09

————————————————————————————————

If you are prospective student, a campus visit is the best way to know if A&M is a good fit for you. Plan your trip to Aggieland here: http://visit.tamu.edu

NOTE: While this letter conveys one experience, it is signed in solidarity by a cohort of current and former Texas A&M students. This letter is not a petition. If you are a current or former A&M student who would like to co-sign this letter, please go here: http://bit.ly/TAMUCoSign

Make a contribution to the A&M GLBT Resource Center here: http://bit.ly/GLBTgiving

If you would like to keep in touch with fellow LGBTQ and Allies in the Aggie community, please join this list via the following link: http://bit.ly/GLBTFSN

Of course, you can always show your support on Facebook: GLBT Aggies and the Texas A&M GLBT Resource Center.

UPDATE: A&M’s Student Body President vetoed the resolution on 4/5. While glad in the outcome, the negative attention these actions brought to our community cannot be ignored.  Onward.

  1. dircat reblogged this from fuckyeahlgbt
  2. tiffanymcelmurry reblogged this from danhz and added:
    Awesome Thing #16: More Aggies doing the right thing. Specifically, Aggies standing together to show the world that...
  3. vdelg87 reblogged this from danhz and added:
    Signed it! Gig ‘Em Ags!
  4. thefuturemrssec reblogged this from danhz
  5. tevans5490 reblogged this from danhz
  6. gsmabennington reblogged this from fuckyeahlgbt
  7. blackrose23 reblogged this from danhz
  8. skinnedllamasarethebestllamas reblogged this from bisexualmargaerytyrell
  9. bisexualmargaerytyrell reblogged this from danhz
  10. lucy-liu-i-love-you reblogged this from gryphynshadow
  11. statsministernyborg reblogged this from danhz
  12. conquiensequedaelgato reblogged this from danhz
  13. ginshi-san reblogged this from thisl00kslikemurder
  14. fuckyeahlgbt reblogged this from danhz
  15. heynikki12 reblogged this from danhz and added:
    This is some “good bull” to put it in Aggie terminology. I love LOVE Texas A&M, and it always saddens me when the...
  16. gryphynshadow reblogged this from danhz
  17. wmt-w-analicia reblogged this from danhz
  18. colormyemotions reblogged this from danhz
  19. lets-climbatree reblogged this from danhz and added:
    OMG. As a member of the UWSP Student Senate this is appalling. Thank goodness we are promoting inclusive legislation.
  20. thisl00kslikemurder reblogged this from fuckyeahlgbt
  21. to-me-its-perfect reblogged this from danhz
  22. sinistralcentaur reblogged this from danhz
  23. partyonthe16thfloor reblogged this from thenewwomensmovement
  24. sexular reblogged this from thenewwomensmovement
  25. tommyshepherds reblogged this from thenewwomensmovement and added:
    An update, actually—the Student Senate passed this but the President vetoed. The A&M Administration did not support it...
  26. faboulouslyflamboyant reblogged this from fuckyeahlgbt
  27. deerworld reblogged this from danhz
  28. asthmatosis reblogged this from danhz and added:
    This letter represents one of the many reasons why I love my school and I want to thank the writer for articulating...
  29. progressivebrittania reblogged this from thenewwomensmovement