The University of Connecticut Rainbow Center will be hosting a biannual event called “Legally and Medically Trans” today from 6-8 p.m. in the center’s main lounge, according to a UConn Daily Digest post. At the event, “legal and medical professionals will be in attendance to provide information on how to navigate gender-affirming and transition-related services,” per the post. Previous iterations of the event have also discussed the process of changing a student’s name on official university documentation as well as details about hormone replacement therapy. Interested students can visit the UConn Daily Digest or events calendar for more details.
While this event will provide important practical tools for transgender community members at UConn, The Daily Campus Editorial Board would also like to acknowledge the significance of programs such as “Legally and Medically Trans” as a step towards meaningful inclusion in a social and political environment that is becoming increasingly hostile to the LGBTQIA+ community. UConn and the state of Connecticut must be active participants in resisting the advancement of anti-LGBTQIA+ policies and in providing refuge to students and community members who cannot return to states where lawmakers threaten their access to life-saving medical care.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 430 bills targeting LGBTQIA+ rights, especially those of minors, have been introduced in state legislatures in 2023. Although a small portion of them have been defeated, a vast majority still advance through their respective committees. And while a number of bills signed into law have faced legal challenges, states such as Florida and Georgia have successfully passed legislation banning gender-affirming care — including non-invasive, reversible medical procedures — for minors. Furthermore, a number of lawmakers in states like Virginia and Oklahoma have introduced legislation that seeks to ban this care for transgender adults as old as 21 and 26, respectively. Other legislation targeting speech, school policy and access to public accommodations seem intent on policing every aspect of the public for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Policymakers, organizations and individuals who espouse inclusivity of and support for marginalized peoples must take a strong stance against attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community — this includes those here at UConn and in Connecticut more broadly. Public and university officials can effectively support transgender people nationally through a diverse range of solutions, from simplifying the process of changing one’s name and gender marker to pushing for affordable housing and healthcare to severing economic partnerships with states that have passed anti-trans bills. Bold steps such as these — in conjunction with supporting necessary events such as “Legally and Medically Trans” and increasing resources for university cultural centers — are the only way to meaningfully transform on-paper commitments to diversity and inclusion into reality for marginalized community members.