Samantha Yang 0

Inclusive Health at Colorado State University

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The Hartshorn Health Center at Colorado State University has been discouraging GLBTQ people from getting annual exams and STD tests. Since this misinformation is so dangerous to the GLBTQ community, we feel we need to address the issue and call for change within the Hartshorn Health Center. Below is the letter we plan to send them along with this online petition, various resources on GLBTQ health, and the transcripts to some of the interviews we did with individuals who had negative experiences at the center: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Dear Deb Morris and the Staff of the Women's Clinic, We are members of a grassroots organization in Fort Collins called INCITE! Women and Transfolks of Color Against Violence. We had been alerted to a case of misinformation, discrimination, and disrespect occurring at the Women's Clinic at the Hartshorn Health Center. Over the last few months, we've been collecting information from women and transfolks who have visited the Women's Clinic about their experiences there. These testimonies confirm that more than one person has had this experience. The Women's Clinic has been spreading misinformation about women's reproductive health, and many visitors have experienced discrimination and disrespect from staff. Many of the people we interviewed identify as lesbian, bisexual, or trans. With their permission, we have attached summaries of several anonymous oral and written testimonies. The testimonies indicated several issues which we found most concerning: * Misinformation & Discrimination: Queer women were told that they did not require STD tests nor annual pap smears due to their sexual orientation. Annual reproductive health examinations, which include routine breast exams and sexual health check-ups, are important for all women, regardless of their sexual orientation. It is alarming that the Women's Clinic is spreading this misinformation, because early identification of certain STDs and cancers found through these exams can save a person's life. Telling women that these exams are unnecessary is not only inaccurate, but also directly endangers their lives. * Disrespect & Disempowerment: Patients who visited Hartshorn often felt that their wishes were disrespected and that they were not in control of the decisions regarding their own bodies. Examples include being ignored when explaining physical symptoms and pains, being discouraged from having STD and HIV testing, and experiencing rudeness when answering questions regarding sexual history and orientation. As patients seeking medical care and expertise regarding their own health, they were taken aback by the unprofessional behavior and insensitive treatment they received by practitioners. In all cases, they were deterred from future visits. This is especially troubling, because Hartshorn is the primary care provider for CSU students in the entire Fort Collins area. Most students who chose not to return to Hartshorn after their negative experiences did not seek health care elsewhere. Given that Hartshorn is partially funded by student fees, it is especially important that students are encouraged to seek services there and are treated with respect when they do. Furthermore, non-heterosexual students experienced a higher frequency of disrespect. This is unacceptable for a health facility that is responsible for serving a diverse student body. We would like to point out that there were also positive comments about the Women's Clinic at Hartshorn. One person noted that their transgender friend found the practitioners helpful and accommodating when transitioning. Our hope is that this type of positive experience can become the norm for all students that visit the Women's Clinic. We hope that you will take our concerns seriously and immediately address them in concrete ways. We would like to offer the following suggestions that directly address these issues of misinformation, discrimination, disrespect, and disempowerment: 1. Educate staff around inclusive and queer health issues through mandatory trainings and workshops. These workshops will keep staff properly informed and address respectful ways to communicate with all students. We are aware of inclusive resources in the area who are willing to provide you with information. These resources include: The Boulder County Department of Health, the Lambda Center, and the Women's Resource Center. 2. Offer and sponsor inclusive and LGBTQ health workshops for CSU students, faculty, and staff. 3. Provide pamphlets about lesbian and GLBTQ health at the Women's Clinic and throughout the Hartshorn Health Center. Making these resources easily visible and available to students would keep the student body informed and identify the Women's Clinic as an important and safe resource for all students, even those to may not disclose to staff that they are GLBTQ. Implementing these three simple steps would immediately impact the concerns shared by visitors to the Women's Clinic. We have attached several resources and pamphlets for your review. We have also attached a petition with signatures of individuals who support this letter and its recommendations. Collectively, we ask that you contemplate our concerns and inform us of how you intend to address them. Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Incite Fort Collins


This petition is written by Incite Fort Collins and Ally. Incite is a grassroots organization for women and transgendered people of color against violence.


Lesbian Health Booklet Online by UWSP Gay-Straight Alliance and Student Health Services Advancing Gay and Lesbian Health: A Report from the Gay and Lesbian Health Roundtable Medem FAQ About Lesbian Health Lesbian Health Research Center An Overview of the Top Trans Health Priorities Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) By Helen Smith and Dr. Patricia Robertson Pelvic Exams: Not Just For Straight Girls Access to Care: Information for Our Community By Joanna Sickler
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