RIT protest aims to expose campus community to needs of LGBTQ students

Apr 2, 2018

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

A demonstration at the Rochester Institute of Technology on Monday was held with the goal of exposing  more of the campus community to the needs of LGBTQ students there.

President of the RIT group OUTspoken, Taryn Brennan, says some of their priorities include asking for more gender neutral bathrooms and locker rooms, as well as advocating for trans-health access on campus.

“This is something that we find is necessary to be a successful student on campus, to have all of your identities affirmed. And to not have that access when it should be considered primary care is disheartening. Especially since it feels as if we’ve rolled back a bit from the support we’ve been receiving from RIT.”

Brennen says last year, Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT was prescribed and maintained in the campus health center, but wasn’t available after students came back in the fall.

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

“When HRT had been removed from campus it was really felt in the community.”

The group has been working with the school to bring that service back.

Outside the student union, students made t-shirts, buttons and shared experiences on a poster board Brennan planned to take to a meeting with RIT President David Munson.

She says it sparked a lot of interesting conversations.

“I think it’s really been a learning moment for a lot of people on campus because previously the LGBT community hasn’t been quite as vocal when it comes to this. So it feels nice to be able to have something visual and visceral for the administration and students at large to be able to engage with.”

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

An RIT spokesperson responded to the protest with a statement:

“RIT is a welcoming and inclusive community and we take the health and well-being of all our students very seriously. We work daily to provide excellent care and services to our students, and they can expect the Student Health Center staff to be sensitive and responsive to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex and Asexual students’ medical issues.  We want anyone who identifies as LGBTQ, Intersex or Asexual to know that we see and hear them, and are open to hearing their thoughts, feelings and perspectives.”