On a campus where diversity, identity, and self-expression remain predominant, the University of Connecticut emerges as an academic symbol of inclusivity. At UConn, every identity is celebrated and welcomed. Students, along with faculty and staff, are continuing to educate themselves and create a more accepting and inclusive space for all. As a member of UConn’s LGBTQIA+ community, I can attest to the immense support UConn offers through the availability of these resources. Below we will navigate through the basics of different mental, sexual, and physical resources offered on UConn’s campus for LGBTQIA+ students.
The Rainbow Center welcomes all students at UConn. The center’s mission statement reads, “The Rainbow Center’s mission is to operate in the service of a more equitable world for all students, faculty, and staff at the University of Connecticut. Using an intersectional lens, we center our work on advocating for and increasing education, access, retention, identity development, and community-building for queer and trans-spectrum communities.” The center’s website offers resources such as the Homer Babbidge Library’s LGBTQIA+ Community Wellness Books, Communit-E Newsletters, an LGBTQIA+ Dictionary, Future Husky FAQs, a Gender-Inclusive Restroom Map, a Gender and Pronoun Guide, and Anti-Racist Resources. Not only does the Rainbow Center have these resources available online for students to access at any time, but they also run a multitude of events and programs including the Rainbow Center Symposium, FAMILEE Mentoring Program, In-Power (a student-led support group dedicated to building a gender-inclusive community that welcomes victim-survivors of sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence at any point in their healing process), Between Women (a discussion group for women who love women or think they might), Queer Asian Allies, Queer Film Club, Out in Science, Queer Collective, and many more. The Rainbow Center is open to students Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 860-486-582.
UConn’s Student Health and Wellness Center has been named an LGBTQIA+ Healthcare Equality Leader by the Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index. SHaW states, “We recognize that LGBTQIA+ students have many of the same healthcare needs as all UConn students. We also recognize that some of the needs may be unique and require a greater understanding of healthcare-specific to people who identify as LGBTQIA+.” Their website also shares that they offer services that may be unique to students who identify as LGBTQIA+ including chest exams, pelvic exams, gender-affirming hormone therapy, hormones that aid in regulating or limiting menstrual cycles, family planning, hormone replacement therapy, therapeutic gender affirmation care, and PrEat (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis, a daily pill that can prevent and protect from HIV).
UConn’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning suggests a multitude of ways for those employed at the university to create inclusive environments for LGBTQIA+ students. These suggestions include prioritizing student safety and privacy, establishing pronoun expectations, creating affirming syllabi and curriculums, addressing students who misgender classmates, modeling inclusive behavior, and continuing to learn and commit to expanding their allyship toolkits. All these suggestions, as well as inclusivity resources for those working at the university, are listed on the center’s webpage. The center can be reached by phone at 860-486-0457.
The UConn Health website states, “UConn Health believes in health care for all and is proud to actively participate in the Healthcare Equality Index Survey by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. We provide equitable and inclusive care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning members of our community.” Not only does UConn Health believe in specialty care for the LGBTQIA+ community, but it also offers providers that are sensitive to the needs of the community. Doctors Rebecca Andrews and Marilyn A. Katz offer LGBTQIA+ competent sexual health screenings, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), anal pap testing, and transgender hormone therapy. Doctor Angela D. Hart offers LGBTQIA+ competent sexual health screenings, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), and anal pap testing. Doctor David Ozimek offers LGBTQIA+ competent sexual health screenings, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), and anal pap testing. Doctor Ivan Stanford offers LGBTQIA+ care, and gender-affirming care including hormone replacement, sexual health, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), and anal pap testing. Additionally, UConn Health offers gender identity-affirming services including hormone replacement, ENT, cosmetic surgery, voice therapy, and physical therapy. UConn Health is located at 263 Farmington Avenue in Farmington, Connecticut and appointments can be made at 1-84-GET-UCONN.
Overall, UConn offers resources for all identities and is an ever-growing institution committed to LGBTQIA+ education and inclusivity. Regardless of who you are and who you want to be, there is a place for you on UConn’s campus and people excited to support you in your academic and personal journey.