Portland State’s Student Health and Counseling department not only provides health insurance to thousands of students, but also offers some of the best transgender care in the nation.
The services SHAC provides include a Trans Health Advocate, partnership with the Queer Resource Center, transgender-friendly doctors, trans affirming fitness classes through Campus Rec, and a preferred name/pronoun option to be used campus-wide. PSU students are also covered under Title IX laws which address issues of discrimination.
With a Donald Trump presidency around the corner, many in the trans community are concerned with what this administration could mean for them.
Nick Walden Poublon is the Trans Health Advocate for SHAC. Poublon spoke about PSU’s history of trans health services.
“In 2007 PSU was one of the first universities in the nation to add trans health benefits to its insurance plan,” Poublon said. “We are committed to offering trans-identified students the same medical and counseling care they are accustomed to at SHAC in addition to the trans health benefits covered in the PSU Student Health insurance plan.”
Sarah McBride is the press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest queer rights organization. McBride was the first openly transgender person to speak at a major political party convention when she spoke at this year’s Democratic National Convention.
McBride recently issued a press release stating, “As we stand at the brink of a Donald Trump presidency, I and many of my transgender family and friends are frightened by what challenges face transgender Americans in the coming months.”
According to the HRC, at least 21 transgender people, predominantly women of color, have been killed in 2016 alone.
According to Poublon, following election day there were students calling SHAC with concerns about the future of their trans health coverage.
“I cannot, of course, speak for all of the trans students on campus, but I have received word from some students concerned about documentation and their ability to make necessary gender marker and name changes under the new administration,” Poublon said.
Although Trump has not publicly shown any animosity towards the trans community, there is still the expectation that he will adhere to the Republican platform. Historically the GOP platform has targeted those in the LGBTQ community with discriminatory legislation such as North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which banned individuals from using public restrooms that did not correspond with the biological sex stated on their birth certificate.
The newly ratified GOP platform offers support for state laws limiting bathroom use, the opposition of same sex marriage, and support for parents to subject their children to gay and trans conversion therapy.
Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence also has a history of anti-gay and trans policies during his time as governor of Indiana. Pence has publicly endorsed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which essentially sidesteps anti-discrimination laws on the basis of religious values.
Throughout his campaign, Trump has repeatedly stated that he would repeal Obamacare. Transgender Student Resource and Retention Coordinator Jill Seale says there are trans students worried about the future of their health care.
“There are a number of things that are pivotal to some folks’ transition that are controlled on a federal level, and thus are up in the air right now,” Seale said.
There is a legitimate fear of a Trump presidency within the trans community considering the violent acts McBride cited.
Seale also spoke about her experience in dealing with the fears of PSU students.
“There is also the reality of an increase in queer and trans-targeted violence since the election results, and many students I have talked to are worried for their safety and the safety of their friends and family,” Seale said.
PSU grad student and high school history teacher Eugene Smith plays guitar and sings in a local rock band called Millstone Grit. Smith, along with several other bands, recently played a benefit show collectively raising over $400 for Planned Parenthood to be donated in Governor Pence’s name. Smith currently receives their primary health care through SHAC’s trans health services and spoke about their experience.
“I meet with my doctor regularly and I don’t feel judged, I don’t feel hassled, and I don’t feel rushed, so my experience with SHAC has been overwhelmingly positive,” Smith said.
A certificate of donation will be sent to Pense, as are all donations made to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence’s name.
Those seeking more information about trans healthcare can contact Trans Health Advocate: Nick Walden Poublon at 503.725.2800 or [email protected].
The population of transgendered individuals is currently 0.03 % – a very minuscule minority – while blue-collar and working class individuals who have lost their jobs and never got them back after the recession, stands in the hundreds of thousands. (They are no longer even included in the unemployed rolls.) But yet, here you go again harping on the concerns of a minuscule, “first world” gender issue while ignoring everyone else. Nice to see that Portland liberals never learn anything except how to parrot narrow shibboleths.
BMS, the outdated statistic you’re misquoting is 0.3%, which is larger than 0.03% by a factor of 10. That’s how percentages work. The 2016 estimate was 0.6%, or some 1.4 million people in the US. That may still be minuscule to you, but there’s no need to lie or exaggerate about it. Your assertion that being trans is a “first world” issue is also patently false; it’s neither exclusive to the “first world” nor a new phenomenon, even if you’ve just become aware of it recently. It’s quite possible to focus on more than one issue at once, and if you think “everyone else” is being ignored to focus solely on trans people, you’re again quite mistaken. Regardless, this IS a matter that affects real people, whether you care about it or not (and you don’t have to–no one’s forcing you to).
You are right, mental illness affects a lot of Americans, fortunately this type of mental illness is largely irrelevant. Nobody cares if people who self identify as transgender want to use their own money or insurance to pay for the move towards whatever gender they prefer, furthermore; nobody cares if men or women want to dress in public as the opposite sex. Nobody cares! Just understand that the larger community will never mainstream this behavior or support it.
The problem is that this minority community does not simply leave it at that, they want special rights, they lobby, they try to change the laws of the larger community. They want to force other people who do not share their mental illness to speak and refer to them how they prefer, they want to police language; and that’s not how the world works or free speech for that matter.
I believe BMS is refering to this issue as a “first world issue” because – while there are people with this mental illness everywhere – the level at which this issue is elevated to and focused on in the public square here in the west is unique and is not elevated to the same level anywhere else in the world. Further, this is a luxury issue that can only really be taken up in developed countries – not saying trans people don’t exist elsewhere. Thailand for instance has a whole industry around transgenderism, but even there they are largely ignored by the wider community and it is not mainstreamed.
My point is this: Portland State continues to focus on a minority population while ignoring a large group of people (including all races) who have been left behind in this global economy and never recovered. Your rhetoric reinforces those tired shibboleths that you keep trotting out, courtesy of most of the professors at PSU who have practically brainwashed your thinking, so much so, that whenever you lapse into the same, old rhetoric, you sound like a dawn chorus of birds. Democrats and leftists, whose “free-thinking” ideas normally spawn innovation and creativity, are instead stuck in a political verbal loop, socially reinforced, I suspect, to increase self-interested affilial and “tribal” ties.
I do care about the rights of ALL people. You have totally misconstrued and subverted the content of what I am saying.