The Student Health and Wellness Center is committed to meeting the specific health care needs of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community with respect and compassion.
We strive to create a safe and comfortable environment for our students to ensure that they receive the most optimal health care. In addition to providing a broad range of health educational services, we have partnered with the Office of LGBTQ Life to promote health equity, access to care and to ensure the needs of our students are effectively met. In the following pages, you will find information and resources on mental and emotional health and sexual health as well as specific information for trans and genderqueer students.
What you should know about us
The Student Health and Wellness Center is committed to creating a respectful and inclusive space for students of all identities. We strive toward supportive and informed care for every member of the Hopkins community — where all are empowered to lead healthy and happy lives. Achieving this goal means everyone is entitled to personalized care and encouraged to understand what “healthy” means for them.
You should know that your privacy is important to us. What you share with your provider is confidential – unless we are required by law to disclose if someone’s safety is threatened. But, we offer multiple accommodations – such as with sexual health testing – to keep your records confidential to you and to you alone.
Most importantly, we believe that everyone can be the champion of their own health. We recognize it can be easy to feel stigmatized or overwhelmed, but we want our clients to feel confident and empowered.
What We Should Know About You
As an initial step, it’s always important to come out to your provider and be as honest as you can about your behaviors and experiences. Being open with your provider means being open to the best care and services we can offer.
In turn, we are always open to your honest feedback about how we can serve you better. We want to know how and where we can improve in order to reach our aims, and welcome your feedback.
For many, one important step to an honest and empowered life is finding a way to come out of the closet to their friends, peers, and family members. However, there are important things to keep in mind about coming out:
- To start, coming out is a process, not a singular event. More than likely, you will both formally and informally come out of the closet dozens of times over the course of your life.
- Similarly, coming out is a different experience for every person you choose to open up to. It is natural to disclose this information by various modes, in various dialogues, and to various levels of detail.
- Finally, coming out is a personally negotiated decision for the individual to make. The stakes and reasons for doing so are widely variable, based on factors of culture, religion, and other circumstances. Do not feel pressured to do so if you ultimately believe it will be unsafe in any way. As well, you are not obligated to come out to anyone you do not feel comfortable with doing so, nor can anyone force you to disclose information you might not be ready to share. However, other people close to you might approach you before you are ready to do so, but you do can always postpone your answer. Finally, the best gesture other people can show if they suspect you might want to come out to them, is to create a safe space and accepting environment to you and to all people, both with direct and indirect actions and words.
Below are some resources for those considering coming out themselves, and as well for the people to whom they come out.
- “Coming Out”
- “Why Do People Come Out?”
- “Tips for Coming Out to Professors”
- The HRC Resource Guide to Coming Out
Being an Ally
- PDF Document: “What to Do When Your Friend Comes Out to You”
- “Dos and Don’ts for Families and Friends”
- “Guide to Being a Straight Ally”
- How to be an advocate, how to avoid false language about HIV and AIDS, and how to be respectful when someone comes out to you about their status
Local and National Resources
- Chase Brexton, Baltimore, MD
- Fenway Institute, Boston, MA
- Whitman Walker, Washington, DC
- The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA): Search for providers and see specific lists of topics to discuss with your healthcare provider
- JHU Office of LGBTQ Life: The office oversees the multiple LGBTQ student groups and organizations on Hopkins campuses across the city. Visit their website or office for support, advocacy, and education for the LGBTQ community on campus and beyond. Connect on social media for events, updates, and further resources.
- Lesbian and bisexual health fact sheet
- JHU Counseling Center: Rosemary Nicolosi, Psy.D (Coordinator of Services for LGBTQ Students) leads the LGBTQ Support Group, a discussion group and safe space where LGBTQ students can share their stories and experiences
- Asexuality Visibility and Education Network
- Organization Intersex International (OII)
- Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling: Online resource guide for Queer People of Color (QPoC)
- Go Ask Alice!