Posted Monday, June 15, 2020

Dear Rams,

We at the CSU Health Network, the Pride Resource Center and the Women and Gender Advocacy Center (WGAC) are aware of the recent rule enacted by the Federal Administration that removes language from the Affordable Care Act specifically protecting healthcare access for the Trans and Non-Binary community. This updated ruling removes discrimination protections for Queer and Trans people seeking health care. Further, it erases the identities of the Trans community by defining “sex discrimination” asonly applying when someone faces discrimination for being male or female. This narrow definition is a misconception that has been disproven time and time again and it denies the reality of the lives and experiences of our Trans and Non-Binary community. We want to assure you, as a result of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act you legally cannot be denied access to health care in the state of Colorado based on your sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

To release this ruling during a global pandemic, in the middle of a major civil rights movement against anti-Blackness and police brutality, with ongoing threats to the safety and wellbeing of undocumented communities, during Pride Month and on the day of the 4th anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting is devastating, heartbreaking, cruel. We acknowledge this will have a detrimental impact on the lives of many Queer and Trans folx, but particularly on the lives of Black Trans folx and Trans folx of color who are already disproportionately discriminated against across many systems. The historical roots of Pride Month are about pushing against police brutality and unjust systems, led by Trans Women of Color. And yet, we continue to witness the ways the stories of violence on the bodies of Trans Black folx has been erased from the national narrative. Nina Pop, Tony McDade, Iyanna Dior, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah Milton. Those are just the names of the lives we have lost in the past couple of weeks.

In our ongoing commitment to social justice, we will continue to pursue active growth in the areas of anti-Blackness, anti-racism, and the dismantling of white supremacist systems that maintain harmful and inaccurate notions of the gender binary. We know this recent ruling and the cumulative impact of this time increases anxiety, fear and concerns. As such, we want to clarify and affirm the following:

  • We believe that Trans and Non-Binary people deserve equitable and affirming access to health care and support across all intersections of identity.
  • This ruling goes against the Principles of Community of Colorado State University, the Health Network, the Pride Resource Center and WGAC and we reaffirm our presence and support the Trans and Non-Binary community.
  • We collectively remain committed to providing quality healthcare and support services to our students who identify as LGBTQ+ and at intersections of multiple marginalized identities.
  • Health insurance plans that are subject to regulation by the Colorado Division of Insurance cannot consider being LGBTQ+ a pre-existing condition, decide what is medically necessary for you, deny services to Trans folx that are offered to cisgender Coloradoans, or discriminate based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • The university-sponsored Student Health Insurance Plan will continue to provide coverage for Trans health care. CSU negotiates the policy requirements related to the insurance plan, and we will continue to prioritize coverage for Transgender-related services.
  • Students who are covered by a health insurance plan based outside of Colorado can contact CSU Health Network Referrals Coordinator at (970) 491-3962 for additional support in navigating questions and concerns about their specific health insurance coverage.
  • The Health Network will continue services specifically geared towards the Trans community that include medical consultation, initiation of hormone therapy and ongoing care, mental health consultations, surgical referrals, individual counseling, and group counseling.
  • The Health Network commits to addressing anti-Blackness through our services and through advocacy efforts for a more just health care system. We specifically point out our commitment to affirming respect, compassion, and acceptance of Trans Black individuals.
  • The Pride Resource Center and WGAC will continue to hold steadfast in our commitment to providing support programs, educational opportunities and fiercely continue to advocate for your mental, emotional health as well as your financial, social, academic and systemic needs across all intersections of identities.
  • In addition, the Pride Resource Center commits to uplifting the stories, voices and experiences of Trans Black folx. We commit to addressing anti-Blackness and anti-racism in our center and within the LGBTQ+ community.
  • WGAC understands that access to healthcare and mental health services are fundamental to the retention and wellbeing of survivors. As such, we are committed to recognizing and responding to the need for identity-specific, trauma-informed interpersonal violence resources for Queer and Trans communities, particularly for survivors who may be experiencing layered traumas related to disability, COVID 19, immigration, racism and anti-Blackness… some while being isolated at home with abusive partners. We know that sexual violence disproportionately impacts Queer and Trans folx and we will not ask you to separate your identities or your trauma/s. We believe you.
  • We reaffirm our collective commitment to using your preferred name and pronouns, acknowledging when we mess up and intervening when others misgender you.
  • We collectively recognize we have not always served you well, and we are certain that we will mess up along the way. We collectively commit to being open to feedback, listening and affirming your experiences and incorporating your feedback as we work to create more equitable systems and environments for Queer and Trans folx at CSU.
  • If you are in need of support, please contact the Pride Resource Center via email, visit us during our office hours, reach out to the Counseling Center, or connect with WGAC’s Victim Assistance Team 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.Your identities are valid. Your experiences are real. You are worth existing. You are deserving of equitable and affirming care. You are not alone.

In solidarity,

The Pride Resource Center, the Women and Gender Advocacy Center and CSU Health Network

Note: As this message was being finalized Monday morning, a Supreme Court ruling was released that states existing civil rights law protects LGBTQ+ workers from discrimination in the workplace. This is a developing story and more clarity is needed to understand whether it impacts the Federal administration ruling on Friday. The SCOTUS ruling is a much needed victory for our LGBTQ+ community and we will be keeping a close eye as more information is released.