Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo announced this week the university is adding gender-affirming care to its slate of student healthcare services. It will provide transgender and gender non-conforming students access to treatments and specialized care that were previously unavailable at the school.
Tina Hadaway-Mellis is with the Office of Student Affairs at Cal Poly and oversees campus health and well-being.
“Gender-affirming care is an approach to ensure that our students receive care that is in line with how they see themselves,” Hadaway-Mellis said. “For our students who are gender non-binary, gender non-conforming and our trans students, it’s important that they are able to access providers who have the competency to talk with them about their questions.”
For some students, part of their healthcare may include hormone replacement therapy, also known as HRT. It was not previously offered at the school. Hadaway-Mellis said currently only about half of California State Universities offer HRT. But some schools are also located in areas with more access to LGBTQ+ healthcare.
“In our county that can be a struggle, since we’re not as densely populated as some of our Bay Area CSUs,” Hadaway-Mellis said.
Some in the Cal Poly community, like fourth-year student Autumn Ford, have been waiting for Cal Poly to add gender-affirming health care for months or even years.
“This is such a monumental thing to happen for transgender and gender-variant students on campus, especially around a time when we have such turmoil nationwide," Ford said in October. "It’s nice to see something good happen."
Cal Poly administrators say gender affirming care at the school is covered by student health fees and doesn’t require an additional co-pay fee or a referral. The cost of an HRT prescription at Cal Poly may add up to about $8 to $30 dollars a month.