By Tyler Bui | Staff Writer
Glen Maxey, the first openly gay member of the Texas House of Representatives, will speak at Baylor about his political experiences at 6 p.m. today in 311 Cashion Academic Center.
The event is organized by Baylor Democrats and is open to all Baylor students and the Waco community.
Maxey is an activist for human rights, specifically same-sex marital rights in Texas. In addition, he advocated for public health issues and the proper education and resources for individuals affected by HIV and AIDS.
He was elected to the Texas House in 1991, where he served until 2003. Maxey passed hundreds of bills and received numerous awards during his six terms.
Maxey currently serves as the legislative affairs director for the Texas Democratic Party.
Dallas senior Alyssa Foy, president of Baylor Democrats, said their initiative is to bring Democratic speakers to campus to speak to the diversity of the Baylor community.
“Baylor Democrats’ initiative is reflective of our diverse community [at Baylor],” Foy said. “We think it is important to bring diverse speakers to campus to start dialogue and continue conversations regarding inclusivity and diversity.”
Houston senior Edgar Gonzalez, vice president of Baylor Democrats, said the group chose Maxey to speak at Baylor because of his experience and passion to advocate for Texans.
“Our role as an organization is to try to keep students politically engaged and active, and part of that is inviting speakers [to campus] who can bring ideas and experience to get students thinking,” Gonzalez said. “Glen Maxey’s experience in the Texas Legislature is a great opportunity for students to hear a side of things that they don’t get to often.”
Gonzalez said Maxey can serve as a role model for any student and hopes he can encourage the Baylor community to immerse themselves in public service.
“He’s one of those people who has been active his whole life—even now he is still constantly doing as much as he can and is a role model for anyone who is passionate about anything,” Gonzalez said. “Getting to hear from someone about their active efforts in doing so will hopefully inspire people and will get them to discuss and think. I’m hoping they can learn how they can apply themselves to things they really care about, and how they can give back to the community.”
Elizabeth Benton, president of Gamma Alpha Upsilon, an unofficial LGBTQ group made up of Baylor students said that the group is excited to have Maxey on campus.
“This will be the second openly LGBTQ speaker on campus after Justin Lee. It’s significant because we’re still not an officially chartered organization—the fact that this conversation is being opened by allowing people like Glen Maxey and Justin Lee to come to campus is definitely amazing,” Benton said.
Benton said she hopes that this event will create more awareness about the LGBTQ community on campus.
“We hope that it will spark dialogue on campus,” Benton said. “We’ve definitely seen it in the past, and we have seen it a lot this semester too. Our biggest hope is that people will start talking about us, and that [this event] will allow people to look at our side of the story; we just want people to be aware.”
Foy said the Baylor Democrats are optimistic that this event will contribute to conversations of diversity and civic engagement on Baylor’s campus.
“Maxey will speak of his legislative experiences and his current role with the Texas Democratic Party,” Foy said. “He was the first openly gay state legislator in Texas. He authored hundreds of bills and led on public health issues, including playing a leading role in expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program in Texas. [We] hope that this event will continue ongoing conversations on campus regarding public policy, diversity and civic engagement.”