Years before I deployed on an aircraft carrier as an openly transgender man, I was raped as a college sophomore. He was a lawyer more than twice my age; I didn’t know whom to tell. I began an eight-year habit of trying to drown feelings of powerlessness and isolation by drinking to blackout. I left school and enlisted in the Navy where I learned how rampant sexual violence really is, and eventually became certified as a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate so that I could be a resource for others.
Today, I am a 27-year-old college junior at CU-Boulder, recovering alcoholic, and passionate advocate against sexual misconduct. This week, our state legislature is considering House Bill 1391, concerning Sexual Misconduct in Higher Education, a Colorado-specific solution to sexual misconduct on college campuses. This bill clarifies ever-changing federal guidelines so that students across the state can count on a fair, clear, and consistent response to sexual misconduct allegations.
I urge students and residents statewide to express support for this measure by emailing or calling their State Senator before Monday, April 23rd when the bill could be seen in Committee to ensure that students who experience sexual violence are not deprived of their access to a safe and meaningful education.