As a trans woman of color, I admire the ways that OU has worked to accommodate all students. The Gender and Equality Center (which leads events such as the Queer Tour and provides resources for LGBTQ+ students), the Queer Student Association, and the LGBTQ+ Lounge all help LGBTQ+ students find their community on campus. The LGBT Ally Program and the required diversity training also train faculty and students to promote a culture of inclusion on campus. Rallies against police brutality, the immigration ban, and ignorance have been held throughout my freshman year. President David Boren has also taken a stance for inclusion, speaking out against racism on campus and the immigration ban. While I appreciate everything OU has done, an immediate need of the trans community has yet to be addressed-healthcare. The trans community has largely been neglected by medical professionals, with many doctors and nurses unaware of how to treat trans patients. Unfortunately, OU isn’t much of an exception.
I made the choice to begin Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) recently. HRT is an important step for many trans people, helping align our gender identity and our secondary sex characteristics. As a first step towards HRT, I made a counseling appointment at Goddard Health Services (a letter from a medical professional is required to begin HRT). As I was filling out the mental health intake form, I was already wary. The mental health intake form currently lists “transsexual” (an outdated term referring to a trans person who’s taken hormones or had surgery) as a sexuality. Not only does the term transsexual exclude trans individuals who either haven’t or don’t want to medically transition, it also isn’t a sexual orientation? The form lists questions about menstruation under a section labeled “FOR WOMEN” (ignoring the reality of AFAB trans people), and reeks of heterosexism by only referring to parents as a father and mother. This was, unfortunately, just the form.
While my appointments at Goddard have gone smoothly, with staff using my correct pronouns and name, avoiding invasive questions, and largely respecting my identity as a trans woman, the services available for trans people are lacking, to say the least. Once I receive my letter confirming that I can begin HRT, there’s nothing else Goddard offers trans students. HRT can’t be started at Goddard, and despite the daunting name, HRT isn’t a difficult service to provide. HRT consists of blood work (to check that trans patients won’t react adversely to hormones), and then a monthly prescription of hormones in the form of pills, patches, or injections. While Goddard will fill prescriptions for hormones, since Goddard doesn’t have an endocrinologist, trans students have to get bloodwork, testing, and prescriptions outside of Goddard.