LGBTQ rights activists Leslie McMurray and Katie Sprinke spoke at a “creating safe zones” panel on Feb. 22 during free period in Lou’s Place.
According txwes.edu, McMurray an insurance assistant coordinator in Dallas who has contributed to the Dallas Voice, NBC, and The New York Times, serves on the Dallas Mayor’s LGBT Taskforce, and has steered the committee for the Allan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. Sprinkle, a Carrollton attorney, has spent 33 years in morning radio in markets across the country. Both are transgender women. The Division of Student Affairs and the Liberal Studies Department sponsored the panel.
McMurray and Sprinkle said that they are very keen on making sure their voices are heard and making sure Wesleyan understands these groups as well. They want people not only speaking up for them, but also helping to create a safe space for them.
The roundtable opened with Sprinkle discussing James Dobson’s “Five Point Plan” and stating that society’s idea is to “force trans back to the closet to make society better.”
“In this world, you run into two types of people, the ignorant and the willfully ignorant,” Sprinkle said.
The two women talked about how everyone has something that is oppressing them. They said that society needs to understand the language that the LGBTQ community speaks and be more aware of the pronouns that they go by. Sprinkle said she also wants society to call transgender people by their trans name, and not their birth name.
McMurray and Sprinkle also talked about the Karpman Triangle of rescuer, persecutor, and victim.
“Predators go where they are trusted,” McMurray said. “You can’t live in a state of fear. Yoda says fear is a path to the dark side.”
McMurray said it is hard to hate up close because society judges first, instead of getting to know people. She said that if everyone could just get to know each other, there wouldn’t be such a big problem.
“I can tolerate a difference of opinion,” McMurray said, “but I can’t tolerate hate and ignorance.”
The two women stressed the importance of donating to foundations such as the Gill Foundation in Colorado, which is one of the nation’s largest funders of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality.
Sprinkle said free speech is important to the transgender lifestyle.
“Free speech is a marketplace of ideas,” said Sprinkle. “Normal people have the license for driving; trans have the license for to live.”
Dr. Chad Pevateaux, assistant professor of religion and director of Liberal Studies, asked the two women their thoughts on what responsibilities the university has for creating a safe space on campus for people like them.
He mentioned the university’s nondiscrimination policy.
“At Texas Wesleyan, we have a nondiscrimination policy that we follow,” Pevateaux said, “and as a Wesleyan community we are called to do more than simply not discriminate. We are called to do good in regard to each of the categories of discrimination.”
One good thing that Rams can do, according to McMurray and Sprinkle, are the little things like using their correct pronoun.
“A simple act of recognition can mean the world to someone,” Sprinkle said.