Ending a year and a half of uncertainty, the Rochester Institute of Technology is offering hormone therapy to transgender students.
The school had fired a doctor for providing the therapy, which helps transgender people’s physical characteristics align more closely with their gender identities, last year.
At the beginning of this year’s fall academic term, RIT said it would “offer a wider spectrum of care” for transgender students, “most notably the addition of gender affirming hormone therapy.”
The university said the decision came “after months of carefully listening and talking to students and experts.”
The school’s student newspaper, the Reporter, and the Democrat and Chronicle both reported on the saga that unfolded between the doctor’s dismissal and the formal decision to offer the therapy she was dismissed for providing.
Rochester’s Out Alliance communications director Rowan Collins said the university made the right decision, even if it was delayed.
“There needs to be a commitment to understanding and respecting everyone around us,” said Collins. “When it comes to the transgender community at RIT at this very second, one of their biggest needs for respect and understanding was this access to medical care.”
Hormone replacement is not just a physiological treatment, Collins said. “It enables transgender people to feel more comfortable in their own skin. It has mental and emotional components beyond just the physical manifestations.”
Collins said the biggest problem for transgender students who had been receiving the treatment was the abruptness with which it stopped. “All of a sudden, these students were left with no medical practitioner who was trained or even familiar with how to help them when it came to their medical transition,” he said.