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A majority of LGBTQ+ students at the University of Houston claim they no longer feel safe on the Texas campus now that people can ‘Open Campus Carry.’

LGBTQ+ students at the University of Houston claim they no longer feel safe and can no longer express themselves out of fear relating to the new ‘Open Campus Carry’ law. The law went into effect statewide on August 1.

Formally known as the Senate Bill, which allows students at state universities in Texas who have licenses to carry handguns to bring those guns anywhere on the college campus, with the exception of “exclusion zones.”

The ‘safe zones’ include most dorms, research centers, and buildings with classrooms, plus religious centers, day care centers, and health centers.

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The building containing the LGBTQ+ Student Center at the University of Houston is not considered a ‘safe place or exclusion zone,’ and many LGBTQ+ students were unaware until recently.

“I feel like I can’t speak up for myself anymore,” Robyn Foley, 22, a transgender student stated.— “I can’t stand up for my transgender friends, because if I do and someone gets pissed off all they have to do is pull out a gun.”

Though state law says guns must remain concealed at all times, some students claim to have already seen people with guns visible on their belts in parking lots. Some students say ‘the fact that the guns can’t be seen makes it even more intimidating.’

Many LGBTQ+ students that attend the University of Houston claim they regularly ‘experience intimidation on campus,’ even before the law was implemented — both from fellow students and from non-student religious protest groups on campus, nick named “Hell Yellers.”

The University of Houston Press Office has not responded to requests for comment.

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Laura Smith
Laura Smith is the Editorial Director for About News and Queer Texas News. She is an award winning journalist, and proudly calls Willis, Texas her home.