About Our Organization

Mission Statement
Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association’s mission is to connect, support and empower community for LGBT+* students and allies across veterinary education.
*LGBT + will be used as an inclusive acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer,Questioning, Asexual and others who self-identify on the sexual orientation and/or gender expression continuums.

Vision Statement
Broad Spectrum desires greater support and a sense of community for all LGBT+ students and allies throughout veterinary medical education. We actively strive to counter episodes of bigotry and marginalization with positive messages of diversity and inclusion. We have healthy, supportive and encouraging relationships with pre-veterinary, veterinary and graduate students, faculty, staff and administrators. We are known for advocating for the respect and equality of seen and unseen LGBT+ members in the academic veterinary community and beyond. We contribute to the development of safe and welcoming veterinary school environments for pre- and current veterinary students. Broad Spectrum makes veterinary schools more inclusive for all students, especially LGBT+ students. We accomplish this by starting important and courageous conversations about LGBT+ inclusion, in addition to maintaining much needed support for LGBT+ students in veterinary medicine.

Our History

We were founded in 2011 at the SAVMA Symposium hosted by UC Davis. The name 'Broad Spectrum' came out of a calculated attempt to be as inclusive as possible to any student who falls anywhere on the spectra of sexuality, sex, or gender. We welcome all students no matter their sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression. And yes, allies, this means we welcome you, too!

Our Links

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

SAVMA Symposium 2016 Iowa BSVSA Events

Join us at SAVMA Symposium March 17-19, 2016 at Iowa State University. 

Any questions email broadspectrumoutreach@gmail.com 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Veterinarian Fights for Transgender Rights

From the post:
"Hayden Nevill, a transgender veterinarian in Fairbanks, AK, was one of three clients to challenge Alaska’s restrictions on correcting the gender on your driver’s license.  In an op-ed published in the Anchorage Daily News earlier this year, Nevill wrote about how transgender people often have to struggle or disclose private information just to get driver’s licenses and other identification documents that match who they are:
'I'm a professional who travels for work. I am a guy. I have a deep voice and a receding hairline. No one meeting me ever mistakes me for female. My passport says I'm male. My Alaska driver's license has my current name and recent photo, but still says 'F'.
'How does this affect me? I carry my passport everywhere, using it for ID when everyone else uses a driver's license. That works fine when I'm presenting my ID on a job site, except when I need to drive a company vehicle or rent a car. Then I'm faced with a confused clerk who may or may not accept my driver's license as valid. If I have to explain medical reasons why my documents don't match, at best it's a conversation that invades my privacy and is uncomfortable for everyone involved. At worst, it exposes me to possible discrimination or suffering physical violence.'
"To fix the Alaska DMV’s flawed policy that required those who seek to change the gender marker on their driver’s license submit proof of a sex reassignment surgery, ACLU filed a lawsuit, K.L. v. Alaska DMV, on behalf of a transgender woman, K.L., whose U.S. passport and work documents all identify her as a female.  After initially securing a change to the gender on her driver’s license, she was told that her new license would be revoked unless she submitted proof of having surgery.  Later, Nevill and another client served as clients in a separate case seeking the same result.  Following a court ruling in the K.L. case finding that denying accurate identification documents violated the privacy rights of transgender Alaskans, the DMV removed the requirement for surgery or any other specific medical intervention to correct the gender on a driver’s license as of August 2012."

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Spotlight on WisCARES

Here is a link for your blog. One of the founders of Broad Spectrum, Dr. William Gilles at the University of Wisconin, has helped create a clinic for low income and disabled people. He and Dr. Katherine Kreuhl, started their programs with the 2013 LGVMA Veterinary Student Leadership Grant. Congratulatons William!


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tips for Navigating the Holidays

Below you will find some tips for navigating the holiday season and LGBTQ+ issues.
Please note, these might not fit everyone’s experiences, but are general guidelines to help navigate sometimes challenging issues.

If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or Queer...
Don’t assume you know how somebody will react to news of your sexual orientation or gender identity — you may be surprised.
Realize that your family’s reaction to you may not be because you are LGBTQ+. The hectic holiday pace may cause family members to act differently than they would under less stressful conditions.
Remember that “coming out” is a continuous process. You may have to “come out” many times.
Don’t wait for your family’s attitude to change to have a special holiday.
Recognize that your parents need time to acknowledge and accept that they have a
LGBTQ+ child. It took you time to come to terms with who you are; now it is your family’s turn.
Let your family’s judgments be theirs to work on, as long as they are kind to you.
If it is too difficult to be with your family, create your own holiday gathering with friends and loved ones.
If you are transgender, be gentle with your family’s pronoun “slips.” Let them know you know how difficult it is.
Before the visit...
Make a decision about being “out” to each family member before you visit.
If you are partnered, discuss in advance how you will talk about your relationship, or show affection with one another, if you plan to make the visit together.
If you bring your partner home, don’t wait until late into the holiday evening to raise the issue of sleeping arrangements. Make plans in advance.
Have alternate plans if the situation becomes difficult at home.
Find out about local LGBTQ+ resources.
If you do plan to “come out” to your family over the holidays, have support available, including PFLAG publications and the number of a local PFLAG chapter.
During the visit...
Focus on common interests.
Reassure family members that you are still the same person they have always known.
If you are partnered, be sensitive to his/her/hir/zir/their needs as well as your own.
Be wary of the possible desire to shock your family.
Remember to affirm yourself.
Realize that you don’t need your family’s approval.
Connect with someone else who is LGBTQ+—by phone or in person—who understands what you are going through and will affirm you along the way.
If you are the friend or family member of someone LGBTQ+…
Set up support for yourself. It is important to realize you are not alone. Find the phone number of the nearest Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) chapter.
Take your time. Acceptance may not come instantly, but be honest about your feelings.
Don’t be nervous about using the “correct” language. Honesty and openness creates warmth, sincerity and a deeper bond in a relationship. If you are not sure what is appropriate, ask for help.
Realize that the situation may be as difficult and awkward for your LGBTQ+ loved one as it is for you.
Before the visit...
Practice in advance if you are going to be discussing your family member’s sexual orientation or gender identity with family and friends. If you are comfortable talking about it, your family and friends will probably be more comfortable too.
Anticipate potential problems, but do not assume the reactions will always be what you expected.
Consult with your LGBTQ+ loved one when coordinating sleeping arrangements if he/she/sie/ze is bringing home a partner.
If your family member is transgender or gender queer, practice using the correct pronouns.
During the visit...
Treat a LGBTQ+ person like you would treat anyone else in your family.
Take interest in your family member’s life. He/she/sie/ze is still the same person.
Don’t ask your LGBTQ+ family member to act a certain way. Let them be their natural selves.
If your LGBTQ+ family member is bringing a partner, acknowledge them as you would any other family member’s partner.
If your LGBTQ+ family member is bringing a partner, include them in your family traditions.
Ask your LGBTQ+ family member about his/her/hir/zir partner if you know they have
Source: PFLAG Holiday Tips Worksheet
National Resources/Hotlines:
(Youth serving youth through age 25)

The National Runaway Switchboard
Crisis Text Line Serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support and information via text. Simple text 741-741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds quickly, helping you "move from a hot moment to a cool moment." Please note that this Crisis Text Line is not specific to LGBTQ+ people.

The following sites have information about family relationships and tips for interacting with family and friends:

HRC guide for coming out to your family and friends

Want to Know Common Questions Parents Ask?

Travel Related Resources:

Other Helpful Resources:

Find Resources where you are:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

AVMA Convention Recap!

AVMA Convention Recap

I attended the AVMA convention in Boston this month, and had a wonderful time getting to know LGVMA’s board members.  I had the opportunity to sit in on one of the LGVMA board meetings.  During this meeting, we discussed the relationship between LGVMA and Broad Spectrum at length.  The two clubs will continue to be loosely affiliated with one another.  The question remains as to whether or not LGVMA will continue to have student chapters, or whether Broad Spectrum will become the only student LGBTQ+ organization.  

Several Broad Spectrum members worked at the LGVMA booth during the conference.  During this time, we helped to recruit new members and had many great conversations with attendees about the importance of LGBT equality within the veterinary profession.  Many people were genuinely surprised to hear that our organizations exist, and were very interested in hearing more about them.  LGVMA hosted two talks at the convention, and both had good attendance.  Dr. Barry Feldman presented “Suicide Prevention: A Discussion for the Veterinary Profession”.  Drs. Michael Chaddock, Lisa Greenhill, and Malcolm Kram presented “Identifying Diverse & LGBT Friendly Opportunities”.  

The conference was an excellent networking opportunity.  LGVMA hosted several dinners, which provided excellent settings for networking with other LGBTQ+ practitioners.  A representative from the HRC spoke at one of the LGVMA events, and provided excellent insight into the challenges that still face the LGBTQ+ community even after the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding same-sex marriage.  In addition, LGVMA was invited to a reception by Mrs. Cohn, wife of past AVMA president Dr. Ted Cohn, and Bradley Marlow, who is engaged to current AVMA president Dr. Joe Kinnarney.  This was a great opportunity to meet the new AVMA president!

 Abby McElroy
DVM Candidate 2017
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
National Co-Chair, Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Join Broad Spectrum National Student Leadership!

Looking for more involvement and leadership experience? 

Consider a national leadership position with Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association. Below are descriptions of the available positions for next year's term. Please email broadspectrumoutreach@gmail.com with a quick note describing why you feel you would be a great fit by May 1, 2015. If you have any additional questions, please feel to contact us.  

Much Love and Tolerance,

Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association National Co-Chairs 
Amanda Fischer, MS, DVM Candidate Class of 2015 Cornell University 
Leo Holguin, RVTg, DVM Candidate Class of 2016 WesternU 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hello all! BSVSA and VOICE will be hosting a social during Iverson Bell Symposium on Friday 3/13. 
The plan is to meet at the Omni Shoreham hotel lobby at 9 pm and walk over as a group!

If you are attending Iverson Bell Symposium this weekend please stop by and mingle!

                         We will cover the first drink and some appetizers (pending availability) ffff you a       re attending Iverson Bell Symposium this week

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Iverson Bell Student Panel Survey

Hi all, I am participating in a student panel about diversity and the veterinary curriculum and I wanted to get your input on the subject. If you have any comments please fill out this quick survey: http://goo.gl/forms/nRKfcx45cc 

 Thanks y'all, Leo 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Diversity Forum at SAVMA Symposium 2015

Going to SAVMA Symposium? 
Join VOICE, LGVMA and BSVSA as they host the Zoetis sponsored Diversity Forum :) 

BSVSA has invited Dr. Jerome Rabow to present an inclusion workshop!

Also, join us Friday night for the awesome social event: eat, drink and dance!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Interview: Dr. Sophy Jesty

You may have seen an article posted this past Spring regarding a couple from our community; lesbian veterinarians in Tennessee. If you haven't seen the article yet, it's linked below. We are very excited to have gotten in touch with Dr. Sophy Jesty for an interview. Despite her busy schedule, which includes being an assistant professor of cardiology at the University of Tennessee, she made time to answer some of our questions. We hope you're as excited as we are to hear more about her life and her family.


Before we get into the interview, here's a brief introduction.

Dr. Sophy Jesty and Dr. Valeria Tanco were married in New York City in 2011. When they subsequently moved to TN for jobs at the University of TN veterinary school, their marriage was no longer recognized. They became involved in a lawsuit to have their marriage recognized by the state of TN in 2012. When their daughter, Emilia, was born in March 2013 they were recognized as married and therefore both were considered legally to be Emilia’s parents. Although this ruling was subsequently reversed by a higher court, the two remain on their baby’s birth certificate. Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court elected to review the Tanco vs. Haslam case, along with other cases from the Sixth Circuit. They are hoping that the Supreme Court will decide that the right to marry is a constitutional right which cannot be denied to same sex couples by state law. A ruling is expected in June of this year. 
Please introduce yourself.  Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school (undergraduate and veterinary)?

Val grew up and went to vet school  in Argentina, and I grew up in the states and went to vet school at Cornell.

Tell us about your job.  Did you always know you wanted to specialize? Did you always know you wanted to be in academia, or what made you decide to pursue this career?    

We both knew we wanted to specialize. I wanted to specialize in either large animal medicine or cardiology, and ended up getting board certified in both. Val wanted to specialize in reproductive medicine and is board certified and completing a PhD. We both like academia because of the variability day to day (clinics, teaching, research) and the flexibility it affords.

How do you identify in terms of the LGBTQ/Ally community?  How (if any) do you feel that your identity has affected your school, job, and living location choices/opportunities?

We don’t really identify ourselves specifically, although we’re both gay. I don’t think either of us feels that being gay has affected our jobs; veterinary medicine tends to be gay-friendly. We were hesitant to move down south to Tennessee but did so because of a good career opportunity for both of us. Knoxville is much more hip and tolerant than we imagined, which is good!

Do you have any words of advice to students, especially in terms of involvement in LGBT extracurricular activities and being out in the application process? Does this change for vet school, externships, and jobs?

The decision of how and when to be out is a very personal one, and I don’t think one answer would apply to everyone. A lot of people feel great relief once out, and for us being out in all aspects of our lives has become an important part of our happiness.

Did you have any memorable LGBTQ mentors?

No, neither one of us did. We made our own ways during times and in places where it wasn’t as accepted as it is now. Becoming comfortable with one’s self can be a daunting process for any number of reasons, being gay is just one of them.

What are your thoughts on the current climate for the LGBTQ community (e.g. with regards to our current status, rights, struggles).

I think the climate for the LGBTQ community is warming socially, although our current rights are still not guaranteed in every state. I think that the fight for understanding, support and respect is slowest for transgendered people, but hopefully time will continue to bring advances.

What are your thoughts on the state of acceptance of the LGBTQ population within the veterinary field?  Have you ever had any positive or negative experiences?

The vast majority of our interactions within our profession have been positive. I believe the veterinary community is ahead of its time in its acceptance of LGBTQ people. There are still individuals, however, that do not accept us or approve of what we are doing, but it seems their numbers get smaller each year!

Could you describe the experience you went through putting both of your names on your child's birth certificate. What do you  think it means for future same-sex parents?

It was an amazing experience to be considered married by the state of TN at the time of Emilia’s birth. It allowed us to not worry so much during labor and delivery about the right to make decisions for mom and baby, etc. And it allowed us both to put our names on Emilia’s birth certificate to signify that we are both her parents. She has my last name; a first in the state of TN. A lot has happened on the legal front since the Windsor decision in 2013 and many states now recognize same sex marriage, so both parents being put on the birth certificate is now a reality in a lot of places. In the south and some of the Midwest there is still work to be done so that same sex couples have the same rights as straight couples in that regard (and many regards).

Are you at all worried about how much time the case may take up? Is the case still ongoing with appeals?

Yes, the case sometimes takes a lot of time, especially now that we are going to the Supreme Court. It’s time we are happy to give for the cause though. We have been humbled to represent so many people so we never begrudge the time it might take.

Do you have any advice for students and other veterinarians who feel that they don't have the time or energy for LGBT activism?

Not everyone can be an activist, but the idea that activism needs to be big and bold is untrue. Being an activist might just be coming out to friends or coworkers and representing our community well. A lot of change happens at the grass roots or personal level, and in that way most of us are activists.

As new parents, do you have any advice for people concerned with their work-life balance in the veterinary profession?

Work-life balance can be a constant struggle for any working parent, and it certainly is for us. We try to do well by our jobs, but we also have limits of what we are willing to do. It would be very unusual for us both not to be home for dinner, bath and bed time with Emilia. No job is worth missing family time, especially if you have kids.

What is your favorite non-veterinary pastime?

Doing things with Emilia is our favorite pastime. We also have an old house that we are constantly doing projects on. It’s very satisfying to work on your own house. We have redone ceilings, painted walls, made furniture, replaced and painted decks, dug up the backyard with a bulldozer and planted grass, set up filtration for a koi pond, etc.

We hope the Supreme Court makes the right decision this June!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

BSVSA Facebook Page reaches 300 Likes!

Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association's Facebook Page has reached over 300 likes! This is a great accomplishment and shows the greater acceptance of our organization among the veterinary student population. Thanks to all who have liked our page and let's set our sights to 500 likes!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

SAVMA Symposium 2015 Minnesota!

Hi all, 

BSVSA would like to invite to join us at SAVMA Symposium 2015 for our annual meeting on Friday 3/19/15 and then stick around enjoy some cocktails at the Zoetis Diversity Extravaganza Social Event co-hosted by VOICE and BSVSA on Friday night! We also have planned a great diversity forum on Sat 3/20/15 from 12 to 5:30!

More details to come but we would like to have a representative of each of the student clubs attend the annual meeting.

As soon as we get more information, we will sent out another email but please mark your calendars and we will see you at SAVMA.


An update from Broad Spectrum

       Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association is entering its third year as the umbrella entity for the nation’s LGBTQ student organization. First off, I would like to introduce myself your newest national co-chair. My name is Leo Holguin, a current third year student at WesternU. I will be joining Amanda Fischer, Cornell 2015, to help organize and lead BSVSA for this upcoming year. I am excited to join BSVSA and look forward to working with all the school chapters to make it a productive, successful and fun year!

      We have exciting plans for the upcoming year! We will see you at next year’s SAVMA symposium 2015 hosted by University of Minnesota. We are hoping to organize another student mixer where we can come together and enjoy the company of fellow students and allies. We are planning to have an information booth where students can ask questions and hopefully receive answer ;p We are also planning to attend the Iverson Bell Symposium 2015 where we can advocate for LGTBQ students and learn how to better meet student needs. We hope to see you there! And finally we will be invading Boston for the 2015 AVMA convention, where we will team up with the LGVMA to plan exciting events and give them support.

This past AVMA convention hosted by Denver, I was able to participate and support the efforts of our parent organization, LGVMA. I was able to meet the amazing leadership of the LGVMA Dr. Sandy Hazanow and Dr. Ken Gorczyca. I had a wonderful time helping man the LGVMA booth where I was able to talk to interested members of the veterinary community and share my experience as a gay veterinary student. I also tagged along to the “Out” night hosted by the LGVMA where we ate some delicious food at Hamburger Mary’s then danced the night away! It was so much fun and I got to meet amazing colleagues and new friends. I can’t wait for next year’s AVMA convention and the shenanigans Boston will bring!
If you are pre-veterinary/ veterinary technician/ veterinary or intern/ resident and would like more information about Broad Spectrum Veterinary Association? 

Visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BroadSpectrumVSA
Became a member of BSVSA here: http://goo.gl/forms/scimULmjM6

Leo Holguin
BSVSA Co-Chair 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Tell Veterinarian to Remove Anti-Gay Sign


It is sad to have to report that during a time of caring, love and family, we have recently heard of a member of our profession who is using his professional status to belittle the LGBTQ community. By posting divisive and inflammatory comments on his veterinary hospital sign, Dr. Joseph (Jody) Kincaid is spreading hate in his community. Unfortunately, this demonstrates how deep the enmity for the LGBTQ community is in some people's hearts. Although legal, his behavior seems professionally unethical because Dr. Kincaid uses his position as a practice owner to spread hate.


The Board of the LGVMA is working on if and how to respond to this issue and we are in active discussions with the AVMA leadership and several other regional and national level organizations about this topic -- and we are getting a lot of support!   It is very interesting to read the comments of the 12,000+ supporters of the petition. The petition is to urge Dr. Kincaid to focus on helping animals at his practice instead of promoting inflammatory political views.  

We want to respond with inclusion and tolerance.  We can’t change people’s beliefs and we all have the first amendment. However, public homophobia should not be tolerated in a professional environment- such as a veterinary clinic. Please, consider supporting the petition in any way you can- forward it to like-minded friends and colleagues or perhaps you’ll write a letter to the editor. Anything you can do to show you care will help.  We appreciate each of you and will keep you posted. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions.

Want to see some of the news stories that covered the signs?
Here they are:




LGVMA Leadership Award 2014

Broad Spectrum is happy to announce that we have received one of the LGVMA Leadership Awards for 2014.

The other winners include:

We'll keep everyone included on updates as we get closer to SAVMA Symposium!!

LGVMA Annual Meeting

LGVMA 2014 Annual Meeting and Events
Denver, Co at the AVMA Convention
July 25 -28, 2015

Friday, July 25th
in Hyatt Regency Denver Convention Center Mineral Hall F, Level 3
Board Meeting 3-5 PM
Annual Meeting 5-6 PM
Networking Dinner at the Corner Office Denver restaurant (1401 Curtis St.)

Saturday, July 26th
LGVMA Info Booth (Saturday- Monday) –sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition**
Night on the Town                                          7PM
Dinner at Hamburger Mary’s (700 E 17th Ave)7PM*
Night exploring Gay Denver                            9 PM*

Sunday, July 27th
in Hyatt Regency Denver Convention Center, Capitol 1, Level 4
Current Update of LGBTQ Rights and Strategy
Jeremy Pittman, Human Rights Campaign Fund
Networking Reception                                    7-9 PM

*RSVP to tstevens@morrisanimalfoundation.org for dinners and Night Out or more info
** RSVP to Kim McKee at kimcheszak@yahoo.com to volunteer to help staff the LGVMA booth and to represent LGVMA on Saturday, Sunday or Monday at the exhibit hall.
Contact us at info@lgvma.org for any questions.