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Queer At HSU

Health Center, and Counseling and Psychological Services Center

According to the National Institute on Mental Illness,

when compared to straight people, LGBT youth are .....

       .....almost 3x more likely to experience a mental health condition such as major                             depression or generalized anxiety disorder 

       .......4x more likely to attempt suicide, experience suicidal thoughts or engage in                            self-harm than straight people

        ......about 3x more likely to abuse alcohol

      ......... about 2.5x more likely to abuse substances


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"Queering thus refers to the process of complicating something, and it is not necessarily limited to sexual contexts. ... It is likewise queer to live in ways that challenge deeply held assumptions about gender, sex, and sexuality. Thus, queer encompasses even those who do not identify as homosexual (or even as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender), but find that we are nevertheless incapable of occupying the compact spaces to which our cultural perscriptions regarding gender, sex, and sexuality have assigned us."

Mimi Marinucci Feminism is Queer xv


A pamphlet written in 2002 that is available in the HSU Student Health Center. The pamphlet is displayed in the front of the Health Center.

This pamplet is titled "Be an Ally to Gays and Lesbians" and is prominantly displayed in the HSU Student Health Center. This item was written in 2002, and is still prominantly displayed in 2016.

Much of the language in this pamplet is outdated. In the "What's in a Name?" section on page 4, terms listed include "transgendered people," "transvestites," and "transsexuals."

The definition of "transgendered people"  is given as people who "challenge traditional ideas about gender." The pamphlet also states that "transsexuals are people who feel they are a different gender than their bodies--a man in a woman's body, or a woman in a man's body." 

Part of being an ally is educating yourself, but that is hard to do without proper resources. The terms and definitions given in this pamphlet are outdated, incorrect, and potentially offensive to some students. 

Updated definitions from Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD):

Transgender (adj.)An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms - including transgender. Some of those terms are defined below. Use the descriptive term preferred by the individual. Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to change their bodies. Some undergo surgery as well. But not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon medical procedures.


Transsexual (adj.)An older term that originated in the medical and psychological communities. Still preferred by some people who have permanently changed - or seek to change - their bodies through medical interventions (including but not limited to hormones and/or surgeries). Unlike transgender,transsexual is not an umbrella term. Many transgender people do not identify as transsexual and prefer the word transgender. It is best to ask which term an individual prefers. If preferred, use as an adjective: transsexual woman or transsexual man.


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LGBTQ Health section of  the HSU Student Health Center's Sexual Wellness web page

This informational section is from the Student Health Center's "Sexual and Reproductive Health" web page, under "Services and Resources". 

The actual services offered by the Health Center are not listed, but links are given. The linked inforamtion gives a moderate amount of informattion about LGBT health issues, the queer community in Humboldt County, and the QWEERSS group on campus.

One link that is conspicuously missing is to the webpage for HSU's Counseling and Psychological Services. Considering the LGBTQ youth are more likely to face mental health or substance abuse issues, a link to CAPS is an absolutely necessary addition to this list.

Interview with an HSU student.pdf

Interview with an anonymous, queer-identitfied HSU student.

This email interview was conducted with an anonymous HSU student. The student identifies as queer and is a student leader in many campus organizations. She has used the Student Health Center for general medical needs, but has never used Counseling and Psycholgical Services or SHC's services for needs relating to her sexuality or gender identity.

Many students who were informally surveyed had the same experience. There is a distinct lack of information about services and resources. Counseling and Psychological Services and the Health Center must become more visible if they wish to help students more effectively. 

Author's positionality

 Katherine Ohrbom is a white, bisexual, cisgender woman from an upper-middle class family. She recognizes her multiple privleges and acknowlegdes that they bias her experiences. Especially when accessing a system (like medicine/healthcare!) that is systematically oppressive to many, many marginalized groups.

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This list of resources is offered on the CAPS website under the heading "Community Resources". A google search of the words "Humboldt queer community resources" reveals seven unique local queer organizations. This list is clearly outdated, and thus, not all that helpful to students.

"Homophobia sffects one's mental health--I lived my adolscence and young adulthood in terror"  (Smith 37).

Health Center, and Counseling and Psychological Services Center