Cal Poly Pomona will host its first conference about the transgender community and how the campus can better meet its needs.
“Outside the Lines: Strengthening Transgender Health and Resiliency” on Friday, Nov. 9 will open a conversation on mental health support for trans-identified students. Studies show that college students who feel welcomed and are involved in campus activities are more likely to graduate, but trans-identified students sometimes don’t have a voice or a specific niche on campus.
The conference brings the campus community together with experts in transgender support and health fields with the goal of improving campus culture, services and mental health support for students. The event is supported by a grant from the California Mental Health Services Authority.
Dr. Jack Drescher, a psychiatrist and expert on gender identity disorder, will present the conference keynote on queer diagnoses and mental health. Drescher, who has lent his expertise to Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal, is at the forefront of the gender identity disorder discussion. Not only is he a valued media spokesman for issues on gender and sexuality, but his work in a forthcoming version of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders could change the way that sex and gender diagnoses are psychologically addressed.
“Dr. Drescher is right in the trenches of this conversation,” says Jami Grosser, director of the Pride Center. “If these diagnoses are part of the book, it could change the way that trans-identified people get treatment.”
Conference highlights include sessions with Drescher and other leading experts on transgender identification. Willy Wilkinson, a public health consultant, will lead a discussion following the showing of “Diagnosing Difference,” a documentary that he contributed to on gender identity disorder.
“Trans students really need support, and this is an awesome opportunity to get new information to help them,” says Grosser, adding that the speakers and discussions will provide a new outlet for trans-identified students to voice their concerns about the campus culture and university’s support services. Cal Poly Pomona’s nondiscrimination policy is transgender inclusive, but some universities also provide treatment and surgery coverage as part of their medical insurance.
The conference is a joint collaboration between the Transgender Task Force, the Pride Center, Student Health Services, and Counseling & Psychological Services.
The conference is free to Cal Poly Pomona students, faculty and staff. To learn more or to register, visit www.capsportal.org/events/pages/home.
(Photo: Dr. Jack Drescher, psychiatrist and expert on gender identity disorder)