The Fresno State Student Health and Counseling Center has created a plan to offer students comprehensive gender reassurance care starting in the fall semester of 2022.
Gender-affirming care is a holistic approach to healthcare in which individuals can better align their physical characteristics with their gender identity. This will include forms of counseling and medical care for the special support of trans and non-trans students.
Gender-based care is only available at a few other CSU campuses, including Cal Poly, Chico State, Long Beach State, and San Jose State.
John Beynon, a faculty member in the English department, sparked efforts to provide this form of care in 2020 by speaking to the Fresno State LGBT + Alliance Network about the possibility.
A subcommittee consisting of teachers and staff was then formed to focus on providing gender reassignment care on campus. The subcommittee was chaired by Beynon and later by Kat Fobear, a faculty member in the Department of Women’s Studies, Gender and Sexuality.
The team studied how gender reassignment care was implemented in Chico State before meeting with Dr. Janell Morillo, Vice President Vice President for Student Health, Counseling and Wellness and Temporary Associate Vice President for Student Success Services.
Morillo had already partnered with Estevan Parra, coordinator of LGBTQ + and Gender programs and services at the Cross Cultural and Gender Center and a member of the subcommittee, to enhance the experiences of LGBTQ + students visiting the Student Health and Counseling Center by providing staff workshops. to make them more aware of LGBTQ + inclusive practices.
“We want to ensure that students receive the best possible care,” Morillo said.
Jordan Fitzpatrick, a postgraduate student representative on the subcommittee, argued that hormone replacement therapy should be accessible to students on campus. “When transgender and transgender people seek medical attention in Central Valley, [often] treat doctors who are not aware of how to care [them]”They either refuse to care or they are completely hostile,” Fitzpatrick said.
The plan includes hormone replacement therapy, which will be provided on the spot by an experienced doctor, as well as counseling and psychological services, medical services, additional resources added to the website of the Center for Health and Student Counseling, a gender reassurance team, new positions staff at the Student Health and Counseling Center and a new student association position to bridge the Student Health and Counseling Center and the Intercultural Center and Gender.
The mission of the Student Health and Counseling Center is to encourage the maintenance of healthy lifestyles and to provide affordable and accessible health and psychological care. All healthcare services are supported by a fee paid by enrolled students each semester, providing access to conveniently located on-campus services.
“I am so proud of the health center staff and of everything they do to support the physical and mental health of our students,” Morillo said.
The various elements of the plan will be introduced in phases, with everything fully established on campus by the end of the fall semester of 2022.
“It happens,” Parra said. “It was a collective effort and will continue to be a collective effort. I appreciate all those who pushed for this to happen and the managers who supported it “.
(Story by Marisa Mata, Communications Specialist for the Department of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management)
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