The LGBTTQ* student group Rainbow Pride Mosaic (RPM) gathered signatures last week to gauge support — or lack thereof — for changing the title of UMSU’s LGBTTQ* representative.
Current LGBTTQ* representative Eun-Bi Kang originally planned to bring forward a motion to change the name of her position to the Gender, Sexual and Relationship Diversities (GSRD) representative at the union’s Jan. 10 board meeting.
After the motion was met with criticism — both of the name change and due to concerns the wider LGBTTQ* community on campus was not made appropriately aware of the motion — Kang moved to instead table the motion indefinitely, saying continuing at that time would be “irresponsible.”
Kang also said she would work to gather more input from the wider campus community before pursuing the motion again.
The tabling, which occurred in UMSU University Centre last week, provided students with two petitions, one in support of changing the representative title, and one against the change. Both petitions requested students “self-identify.”
A questionnaire was also provided asking students to explain their involvement in the LGBTTQ* community before providing a brief summary of why they signed for or against changing the representative title.
The idea to change the name began in August 2018, when Kang suggested adding an “IA” to the original acronym to include “intersex” and “asexual” identities.
After concerns that elongating the acronym would be too “cumbersome,” UMSU community co-ordinator Mubo Ilelaboye suggested the GSRD acronym.
The GSRD acronym and variations of it are relatively new and are meant to propose a wider view of the LGBTTQ* community. The acronym is not used by any other university in the province but was considered an “official community acronym” by Pride Winnipeg in 2018.
This is RPM’s second attempt at a petition. The first was conducted in the fall term and received only 15 signatures, most of whom Kang admitted were “RPM regulars” and even said she was surprised the UMSU governance committee agreed to draw up a motion after she presented the petition.
Kang said she is not sure if she will present the petition at the Feb. 7 UMSU board meeting.
While Kang has since announced she will be leaving the position after the next UMSU board meeting, she said if she chooses not to present the petition to the board, it will be used as data for the future LGBTTQ* representative.
UPDATE: Kang has confirmed the petition, “both in terms of signatures and questionnaires,” were majority in support of the name change.
She also announced she would not be presenting the petition at the Feb. 7 UMSU board meeting, and said she believed it would be “irresponsible of me since I am resigning right away.” Kang will prepare a recommendation on how to proceed with the vote to the next elected representative.