BERKELEY, Calif. — A student senator at the University of California at Berkeley is facing pressure to resign after she abstained from voting on a resolution that expressed opposition to an alleged plan by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to legally define sex under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as being one’s biological sex at birth.
According to reports, the Queer Alliance Resource Center, a homosexual and transgender advocacy group on campus, had urged the Berkeley student Senate to pass a resolution condemning the reported move by HHS. All voting senators supported the bill.
“[T]he HHS’s proposed ‘definition’ is purposefully trans-exclusive, as it seeks to create an understanding of sex and gender that is fixed, determined by genitalia at birth, and limited to the binary (i.e. the options being either male or female),” the resolution before the student Senate read.
“[T]he Trump administration’s suggested definition of sex does not take into account that ‘biological sex’ has little to do with gender,” it asserted.
The resolution opined that the proposed adjustments to Title IX “rob transgender, non-binary, and otherwise gender non-conforming students of their right to seek legal recourse for discrimination,” and therefore, the students stand “in firm opposition to the Trump administration’s proposed definition of sex.”
However, Isabella Chow, a junior who serves on the student Senate, decided to abstain from voting as she could not in good conscience support the resolution.
She delivered a statement to her peers outlining why she could not join the others in voting, prefacing her remarks with the notation that she opposes bullying and bigotry, and believes that Christ would have her to be loving and compassionate to all men.
“My God is one who assigns immeasurable value to and desires to love each and every human being,” Chow said. “In God’s eyes and therefore my own, every one of you here today and in the LGBTQ+ community as a whole is significant, valid, wanted and loved—even if and when our views differ.”
However, love, she outlined, does not condone choices that are not the best for another person. Therefore, after consulting with various Christian leaders and advisors, Chow concluded that she could not be a part of the resolution.
“That said, I cannot vote for this bill without compromising my values and my community that elected me to represent them,” she continued. “As a Christian, I personally do believe that certain lifestyles and acts conflict with what is good, right and true. I believe that God created male and female at the beginning of time, and designed sex for marriage between one man and one woman.”
“For me, to love another person does not mean that I silently concur when, at the bottom of my heart, I do not believe that your choices are right or the best for you as an individual.”
Chow was soon met with backlash as a petition was organized by the Queer Alliance Support Center calling for her resignation.
“In the senator’s prepared speech, she expressed blatantly homophobic and transphobic views, declaring LGBTQ+ individuals’ identities ‘in conflict with what is good, right and true,’ and stating that she ‘[does] not believe that [our] choices are right or the best for [us],'” the petition read.
“Senator Chow proclaims ‘love for all people’ and, yet, invalidates queer, trans, and non-binary identities as ‘immoral life choices,'” it stated.
The group said that it has concerns over how Chow would vote on similar matters in the future.
“Normalizing acts of hate—even in the form of a pretty speech and a vote to abstain, and especially when it comes from an elected official whose role is to represent the whole of the UC Berkeley student body—will not be tolerated,” it remarked.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, more than 1,000 people have signed the petition. The outlet also reports that hundreds attended a recent meeting calling for Chow’s ousting, and students have posted remarks on social media labeling her a “horrible person” and a “mental imbecile.”
The student newspaper, The Daily Californian, additionally published an article critical of Chow, but refused to print her defense because it “reinforced” her initial speech, which “utilized rhetoric that is homophobic and transphobic by the Daily Cal’s standards.” Banners on campus additionally read “Senator Chow Resign Now.”
“No matter how much I tried to say, ‘I can love you and still disagree with you,’ people still interpret my disagreement with being a bigot and a hater,” Chow lamented to the San Francisco Chronicle.
She also told Campus Reform that she is trusting God to use the matter for the good, and hopes that the situation will spark dialogue about the issue.
“As a Christian, I believe that God redeems and he uses all situations for the good of those who love Him. There is so much happening, and even though it’s been a really, really rough week for me, I know that God is working and I know that he is using this to strengthen the Church, to awaken the Church in a sense,” she stated.
“There’s a Christian community on campus that has been praying for me and encouraging me throughout all this. And if I don’t represent their views, who else will?”
Chow says she has no plans to resign.