UCSB aims to serve students
coming from all genders, gender identities, and gender expressions. If a
student has needs or questions specific to ones gender and/or name used
on university records they can meet with Joshua Moon Johnson, Director
Resources, or Marsha Bankston, Associate Registrar for Academic Records
and Student Services. Joshua can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 805-893-5847. Marsha can be reached at email@example.com
805-893-8653. Each student has the opportunity to meet with a staff
member in order to provide the best action to meet the student’s need.
Transgender Health Care
For students who identify as part of the transgender community, and have begun or are
beginning their transition, there are a number of processes that can be followed. Major points of contact include Student Health Services and Counseling Services. Both of these agencies should have an understanding of the health insurance policies that come into play, the competency to address the needs of transgender students, and the ability to communicate to each other regarding the services you may be seeking.
The RCSGD works closely with the staff at Counseling Services. Staff trainings regarding the LGBTQ community are regular and recurring. Specific counselors on staff are excellent resources for our transgender student community, and have offered to be listed on this page in order to make it easier to connect students with an appropriate counselor. During an intake session, feel free to mention that you would prefer to work with one of these individuals:
Turi Honegger, Ph.D. (located in San Clement)
Jessica Liberman, Ph.D.
Carla Corral, Ph.D. (located at EOP in SRB)
Elizabeth May, Ph.D.
Kristyn Fowkes-Muto, Ph.D. (Out until January)
Holly Bradbury, Ph.D.
Turi Honegger and Jessica Liberman have had some specialized training. For any counselor listed, you can call the Counseling Services front desk number (805-893-4411) and ask for an intake with the particular person you would like to see. It might take longer to get in to see a particular person depending on their schedule.
Counseling may be helpful for a range of issues affecting transgender students, such as adjustment to UCSB; identity expression and transformation; coping with stress, depression, or anxiety; relationship issues; and family concerns.
However, the services provided of Counseling Services would not meet the requirements set by the DSM IV to diagnose and treat Gender Identity Dysphoria, and therefore, stu
dents interested in hormone treatments and surgical transitions would need to seek services off campus. The staff of Counseling Services can make excellent referrals to local physicians and counselors who are sensitive to the needs of the transgender community.
Student Health Services
The staff at Student Health Services has been through trainings to educate themselves about transgender community. Your experience is important, and hopefully you will be treated with respect and informed care as you interact with Student Health Service. You should expect this from them, and if you do not receive this degree of service, please contact the Patient Advocate directly so any issues can be addressed. Her name is Sheila Ganjian and her number is 805-893-3191. It would also be important to report any issues with Student Health to the staff at the RCSGD.
There is a specific physician who has worked with our transgender community at UC Santa Barbara. Dr. Kevin Cook is knowledgeable and an important person to talk to about accessing transgender health care. To schedule a meeting, please call 805-893-3371 and request an appointment with Dr. Cook.
Students who are interested in beginning hormones may begin by accessing Student Health Services. Medical practitioners at Student Health Services may be able to continue hormone treatment for those who had been previously prescribed by other medical professionals in the past. Students who have never been on hormones may need further diagnosis and evaluation. The medical staff at Student Health Services can assist with this. To schedule a meeting, please call 805-893-3371 and request an appointment with Dr. Cook so he can set you up with an endocrinologist. To clarify, you do not need to be taking hormones in order to get sex reassignment surgery. You can get a letter from your physician that at this point you are medically unfit to take hormones but would like to undergo surgery. For more information, please read over the Gender Reassignment Surgery policy under “Physician Discussion Points,” specifically under point 3, bullet 2. Gender Reassignment Surgery Policy.pdf
Sexual Reassignment Surgery
In order to be able to seek our insurance coverage for surgery through the policy currently in place, students needs written support from two medical and/or mental health professionals. Student Health Insurance is underwritten by Nationwide Specialty Health. They have established a number of procedures and protocols that are required to access surgeries. For a full listing of criteria transgender individuals have to meet in order to be covered by health insurance, please review this document: Gender Reassignment Surgery Policy.pdf
Please be aware that the language used in this document is dated and can be offensive to those reading it. Unfortunately it is the framework we are currently working with but please do not be deterred by the language used. Student Health Services will be able to assist you with your transitional needs.
Under point 3 of “Physician Discussion Points,” the language can be confusing. In order to qualify for surgery, you have to live and work “full-time” as the gender you are most comfortable with for at least 12 months. As a community we are aware that this is much more challenging for MTF individuals than it is for FTM individuals. It is recommended that you reach out to other transgender people and allies for support as you navigate your transition.
As stated in the “Hormones” section above, taking hormones is not necessary in order to get sex reassignment surgery. It is a personal choice. A physician can write you a letter stating that you are not fit for hormones at the time you would like to get sex reassignment surgery. If you decide to take hormones, then it is recommended that you be on hormones for 12 months prior to getting sex reassignment surgery. This can be done in the same 12 month time period as you are getting “real-life experience.”
To clarify the third bullet, you do not have to be working with a mental health profession for 18 months prior to getting surgery. It is expected that the mental health professional, who must have a doctoral degree (e.g., Ph.D., Ed.D., D.Sc., D.S.W., Psy.D.), has been working with you within the last 18 months. That being said, you could have started working with your therapist or counselor just a month ago but since you had been working with them within the past 18 months, they are capable of writing a letter for you. The same thing goes for the second recommendation by a mental health professional or doctor. The only requirement for them writing you a letter is that they have seen you within the last 18 months. For more information about what needs to be in a letter from your mental health professional and/or doctor, please see pages 7-8 of the Standards of Care for Gender Identity Disorders document: Standards Of Care For Gender Identity Disorders.pdf
Despite what is commonly shared with transgender individuals who want to physically transition, it is not a requirement that you undergo psychotherapy prior to having sex reassignment surgery, as stated in bullet 5.
For more questions or concerns regarding student health insurance coverage of hormones and sex reassignment surgery, please contact Elaine Grimmesey at