I’m asking this on behalf of myself and others I know in the Vex community, a similar thread was posted about this last year but this issue has really raised alarm with recent developments in Texas’s laws and state legislature.
LGBTQ+ people make up a very significant portion of the Vex community. However, executive orders and proposed bills are making it a risk for many to attend Vex Worlds. Transgender members of the community are at a huge risk, with restrictions both passed and proposed — some that would even make my and others’ mere presence at Vex Worlds illegal.
I hope that who we are will never get in the way of the things that bring us all together. Given that VEX has established the location of the championship event, what steps or safeguards will VEX take to ensure the safety of its members, mentors, and coaches?
It’s an unfortunate reality that students have to ask this question, but I fully understand why it’s necessary.
There is no tolerance for prejudice or discrimination at any REC Foundation-hosted or sanctioned events, including VEX Worlds. We at the RECF support trans members of our robotics family and welcome all students to the 2023 VEX Robotics World Championship.
At the REC Foundation, we look out for the safety and wellbeing of every person in our community, and we rigorously enforce our code of conduct to that end. Any intolerance towards students attending VEX Worlds because of their ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual identity, or disability will result in immediate consequences, including disqualification of teams associated with the offender from the event.
Additionally, I want to let you know that we have worked hard to provide exceptionally strong security at the World Championship to ensure that all attendees can enjoy the event safely, as well as designating gender neutral bathrooms at the venue to better support LGBTQ+ Worlds participants.
We want to celebrate your accomplishments this season, and you deserve to have the best experience at Worlds. I always welcome feedback, so please reach out to me with regards to this issue or any other.
I was concerned about this last year, and I’m even more concerned this year, to the point where I’m considering not going.
My experience last year at worlds had its ups and downs. Inside the convention center I felt mostly safe, but walking around the rest of Dallas was a completely different story. I took of my skirt and flag before leaving the convention center to walk back to the hotel I was staying at.
The other major thing last year was the fact that the venue had a single gender neutral bathroom, and it was in the far corner of the HS pits, in the entrance to one of the other bathrooms. This was an incredible inconvenient for me, someone that felt and still feels incredibly uncomfortable using either gendered restroom. There is talk on the FRC forum that presents some potential solutions to this that I feel could be considered.
@DanMantz, can you please tell me what RECF plans to do regarding this?
This is the prime reason why Vex Worlds shouldn’t be hosted anywhere in Texas. Honestly disappointed on that decision.
I am scared for the LGBTQ+ community. REC Foundation’s priority is safety. Always have a chaperone with you at all times.
[I hope] most people attending Vex Worlds are accepting of others the way they are. We are all humans just wanting to live and be ourselves.
REC Foundation Staff, I hope you have a plan to make everyone safe!?
Thank you for bringing your concern regarding the gender neutral bathroom issue to the RECF staff at previous events this year. We have worked with KBHCC to include additional gender neutral bathrooms at the 2023 VEX Robotics World Championship.
It really sucks to ask these questions, is a safe place to be in. Worlds staff, volunteers, REC foundation staff Got your guys back and they really think about stuff like this. I would ask worlds staff if you have any questions at the event.
Neutrality only favors the oppressor. It is your duty as a competitor to ensure the safety of everyone at worlds just as much as it is VEX and the RECF’s duty. The only way we will be heard is if we all push for the equal protection of trans people.