Serving Our Community
Texas Lutheran University prides itself on creating a community and an environment where individuality and personal growth are as integral to success as rigorous academics. We also feel that such an environment should be "designed to serve a diversified community," as stated in our Mission.
The purpose of this page is to provide the students, faculty and staff of Texas Lutheran University the information and resources they need to create and maintain an open, safe, and supportive environment for (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer + (LGBTQ+) students, staff, faculty, alumni, and the campus community.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does LGBTQ+ Mean?
The acronym is used to represent a diverse range of sexualities and gender-identities, referring to anyone who is non-cisgender or non-heterosexual.
What Does Each Letter Mean?
- L (Lesbian): A lesbian is a woman who feels a sexual and romantic attraction to other women. While variations of the acronym exist, the L (for lesbian) is most-often placed first.
- G (Gay): Gay is usually a term used to refer to men who feel sexual and romantic attraction to other men. However, lesbians can also be referred to as gay. The use of the term gay became more popular during the 1970s. The term 'gay community' was eventually replaced the phrase 'gay and lesbian community' until the use of the initialized LGB and LGBT acronyms became more popular.
- B (Bisexual): Bisexual indicates having a romantic and sexual attraction to both men and women. The recognition of bisexual individuals is important since there have been periods when people who identify as bi have been misunderstood as being gay but unwilling or unable to come out as gay.
- T (Transgender): Transgender is a term that indicates that a person's gender identity or expression is different from the sex they were assigned at birth.
- Q (Queer or Questioning): This initial usually represents queer or questioning. Queer is considered an umbrella term for anyone who is non-cisgender or heterosexual. Queer may be used by people who feel that another term such as gay, lesbian, or bisexual is too limiting or not representative of their identity. Questioning refers to people who may be unsure of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- + (Plus): The 'plus' is used to signify all of the other gender identities and orientations that are not specifically covered by the other five initials. This includes intersex, asexual, pansexual, agender, and genderqueer individuals.
Additional Terms & Definitions
Texas Lutheran University uses the Human Rights Campaign's definitions. Some of these are:
- Sexual Orientation: An inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people.
- Gender Identity: One's innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One's gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.
- Gender expression: External appearance of one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.
- Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation. Therefore, transgender people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc.
- Gender transition: The process by which some people strive to more closely align their internal knowledge of gender with its outward appearance. Some people socially transition, whereby they might begin dressing, using names and pronouns and/or be socially recognized as another gender. Others undergo physical transitions in which they modify their bodies through medical interventions.
- Gender dysphoria: Clinically significant distress caused when a person's assigned birth gender is not the same as the one with which they identify. The term – which replaces Gender Identity Disorder – "is intended to better characterize the experiences of affected children, adolescents, and adults."
Other Quick Definitions:
- Asexual: (aka "ace") A lack of a sexual attraction or desire for other people.
- Pansexual: Someone who is attracted to all kinds of individuals regardless of their gender identity.
- Cisgender: A term used to describe a person whose gender identity aligns with those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth.
- Gender-Fluid: a person who does not identify with a single fixed gender; a person having or expressing a fluid or unfixed gender identity.
- Intersex: a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.
- Nonbinary: A person whose gender identity is neither exclusively female nor male.
- Gender nonconforming: An individual whose gender expression is outside or beyond the traditional masculine or feminine norms.
Will TLU Respect My Gender Identity?
Yes! It is TLU's goal to allow everyone to feel comfortable and a welcome part of our community, and part of that is being able to live as the gender you identify with without judgement. TLU is working on creating a Preferred Name section on the registration form, which will allow students with a preferred name different from their given name to be listed on class rosters by their preferred name. For more information, please contact Dr. David Ortiz.
Will TLU Respect My Orientation?
Yes! TLU is a community that values respect and acceptance, and we expect all of our campus community, faculty, staff, and students to respect one another. If you have any concerns or issues regarding discrimination based on gender or sexuality, please contact the Title IX office or email Trish Snow.
Why Does Representation Matter?
The LGBTQ+ acronym serves an important purpose—not only is it designed to be more inclusive, but it also represents the self-identities of people who are not straight or cisgender.
The use of the acronym is intended to be an all-encompassing way to recognize different gender identities and sexual orientations. The addition of other identities to the LGBT acronym also plays an important role in recognizing and connecting them to a larger community.
It also means that these individuals are able to gain greater recognition by society as a whole. Rather than being erased, ignored, or denied, acknowledgment can help foster greater visibility of marginalized identities.
Visibility can also help create a greater sense of self-affirmation of a person's identity. Research has found that offering inclusive and affirmative environments is important for LGBTQ+ youth.
Research also suggests that being visible as LGBTQ+ can be an important way to feel a sense of pride in individual identity. Affirming self-identity can help people feel greater self-esteem, self-worth, and boost overall mental well-being. This can be particularly important since representation has long been lacking in mainstream media.
The good news is that there have been improvements made in recent years to change this. A recent GLAAD report suggests that the representation of LGBTQ characters and relationships on television is higher than ever previously seen on TV. This includes greater diversity and visibility of non-binary identities, although the report notes that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) characters are still underrepresented.
Research and statistics suggest that LGBTQ+ youth have an increased risk of a range of mental health and social issues, often due to or exacerbated by isolation, marginalization, and discrimination based on their orientation or identity. Fostering inclusivity and acceptance may be one way to help combat some of these issues.
What Kind Of Support Services Do We Have On Campus?
Student Organizations - S.A.F.E. (Sexuality Awareness For Everyone) is a student organization dedicated spreading awareness and acceptance of gender, sexuality, and the LGBTQ+ community. Meetings occur during the semester. Please log on to Connect@tlu.edu for times and locations.
Diversity Committee - TLU has recently instituted a diversity committee dedicated to advocating for our minority students.
Health Services - TLU's counselor Dr. Marlene Rendon, and our Campus Registered Nurse Laci Webber who are both LGBTQ+ Allies.
Athletics - Our athletics department will respect the gender identity and sexuality of its athletes. Any complaints or concerns regarding this can be addressed to the TLU Title IX office.
Housing - Campus Living can address any issues arising with housing or roommate assignments.
How Can I Legally Change My Name?
The Process in Guadalupe County is to:
1. Print out: Petition to Change the Name of an Adult
2. Print out: Order Changing the Name of an Adult
3. Fill out the forms, except for the signatures.
4. Only sign the forms in front of a Notary. Notaries can be found at most banks.
5. Get a legible and complete set of your fingerprints made on a Texas Department of Public Safety of Federal Bureau of Investigations fingerprint card. This will have a fee associated (possibly $10).
6. Take both forms and fingerprint card to the Guadalupe District Clerks office to be filed. This filing will have a fee associated ($272).
7. Contact the Court Coordinator for Guadalupe County to get your case on the docket.
8. You will be given a court date. Attend court, where the Judge will sign your Order Changing the Name of an Adult
9. Return to the Guadalupe District Clerks to have that order filed, and to receive Official Copies of the Court Order.
10. Use these copies to get your Texas Driver’s License or Identification Card, Social Security Card, Passport, Birth Certificate, or other official documents amended. Issuing a new version of any of these documents may be associated with an additional charge.