Office of LGBTQ+ Initiatives Holds Trans* Healthcare Panel


Taylor MacDonald, Staff Writer

Colgate’s Office of LGBTQ+ initiatives held a World Health Day panel on trans* healthcare featuring guest experts and Colgate Health representatives ranging from healthcare professionals in central New York to local Hamilton practitioners. Topics covered in the April 7 question-and-answer event included access to trans* healthcare options on campus, resources for students, staff, and faculty and organizations tailored to trans* identifying students. Despite the rain, student turnout was high.

“The administration lacks gender and sexuality-based education,” sophomore R Hunsicker, who works in the office of LGBTQ+ initiatives, said. “That prohibits them from being inclusive and respectful of the students. Every faculty or staff needs to have a basic understanding of pronouns, chosen name, and identity.”

Students who attended the event ranged from those active in the LGBTQ+ center to those attending to educate themselves. Attendance was not limited to students, however, as campus staff and faculty were also present. 

“It makes me really happy to see that staff and faculty took time to come to this event, as well as students,” Hunsicker said. “It shows that, even though Colgate has a long way to go, there are individuals on campus that care. They’re ready to get uncomfortable and they’re ready to learn.”

Questions asked by students and faculty alike ranged from general trans* healthcare to specifics of access in central New York. It was emphasized that healthcare for trans* identifying people extends beyond simply physical changes, and also needs to be met mentally and socially. Specialists on the panel pointed students to group spaces, therapy, and even local hairdressers who were accepting and affirming.

“Trans* is an umbrella term to include gender non-conforming and gender-expansive individuals within the transgender community,” Hunsicker said. “It also embraces all intersectional and non-normative bodies and ways of life.”

One focus of the event was discussing barriers such as long wait times and arduous assessments required to legally be given gender-affirming care. It was also emphasized that the regional Q center in Syracuse, a safe space for LGBTQ+ students, was a place those unsure about healthcare could find information and connections.

“I think this panel, alongside others, has shown that [the student body] is starting to care, and I really appreciate that,” said Sophomore Cam Yeager, who was in attendance for the event.   

Other clubs on campus include Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC), Lambda, a confidential social group for LGBTQ+ and questioning students, and the Trans Advocacy Group (TAG), a group under the department of LGBTQ+ initiatives with hopes of becoming an official club next semester, according to Yeager. 

“We do have multiple resources. The office of LGBTQ+ Initiatives is one of them. We do have a very active student group called the Trans Advocacy Group,” Director of LGBTQ+ Initiatives Dr. Lyosha Gorshkov said. “The campus has enacted policies focused on accommodating and welcoming trans* individuals.” 

LGBTQ+ Resources are listed on the University website under the Office of LGBTQ+ Initiatives page, which includes both campus and regional resources.

“Trans* people across the country are facing multiple challenges. We are seeing how the anti-trans legislation unfolds in a few states. This is becoming a shameful national trend,” Gorshkov said. “It is important to support our trans* students, to make sure that they are celebrated and protected.”