Student Action cuts ties with Senator Isabella Chow over anti-LGBTQ+ views

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Updated 11/1/18: This article has been updated to reflect additional information from ASUC Senator Teddy Lake, ASUC Senator Isabella Chow and Student Action party chair Josh Wilson.

Content warning: Anti-LGBTQ+ language

ASUC political party Student Action announced in a Facebook post Wednesday night that it had disaffiliated with Senator Isabella Chow because of comments she made about the LGBTQ+ community during that night’s senate meeting.

At the meeting, the senators discussed a resolution that opposed the Trump administration’s proposed Title IX changes. Chow said she could not support the resolution — which stood in solidarity with transgender, intersex, nonbinary and gender nonconforming students — because she believes that God created man and woman, and that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

“I cannot vote for these bills without compromising my values and my responsibility to the community who elected me to represent them,” Chow said at the meeting. “As a Christian, I do believe that there are certain … lifestyles that conflict with what is good, right and true.”

She prefaced this statement, as well as the rest of her explanation for not supporting the resolution, with the acknowledgement that she loves all people and that all people’s identities are valid.

Senator Teddy Lake, who ran to represent the LGBTQ+ community, repeatedly asked Chow how she can claim to validate LGBTQ+ people while simultaneously stating that identities within the LGBTQ+ community were against her values.

“I don’t feel comfortable being told that I’m valid and then saying that you disagree with me and my community,” Lake said at the meeting.

Immediately after the meeting, a number of Student Action senators extended support to Lake, and Lake said she was grateful that the party disaffiliated with Chow without her having to ask. Moving forward, Lake said she would avoid working with Chow.

“To be told that God intended it the other way, it’s diminishing and infuriating,” Lake said. “I’m not immature. Queer and trans people have existed forever and will continue existing forever. … We rise above and around these people.”

Chow called for the resolution to be voted on with a roll call and voted to abstain from the resolution. All other present senators voted yes.

After the meeting, Chow emphasized that she did not want to misrepresent the campus’s Christian community as “transphobic and homophobic.”

“It’s a difference in perspective, but it’s not a difference in action for other people, as other children of God,” Chow said.

CalTV also disaffiliated with Chow on Thursday in a statement released on Facebook — according to the statement, Chow ran on platforms supporting student-run publications. The statement said CalTV condemns Chow’s anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and that what she said does not reflect CalTV.

The press release from Student Action said the party is committed to supporting LGBTQ+ students’ rights on campus, and that Chow’s actions go against the principles of the party. In the statement, Student Action added that it will make sure future candidates are aligned with the party’s values.

According to Student Action party chair Josh Wilson, the party heard of Chow’s stance on LGBTQ+ topics at the party’s most recent caucus. Wilson also said Chow was made aware of the disaffiliation before the statement’s release during the ASUC meeting.  Wilson deferred other comment to the press statement.

The press release lists topics that Chow disagreed with as “reproductive health and wellness resources, legal protections for survivors of sexual violence, and community space for vulnerable members of our student body.”

Sakura Cannestra is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SakuCannestra.