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

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Support Organizations for LGBTQQIA Veterinary Students

As the summer months are winding down and many school terms are about to begin, Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association is covering the different support systems available to LGBTQQIA veterinary students on their campuses.  The resources we're gathering include student-run groups as well as school-supported LGBT Resource Centers.  This information should provide yet another gauge of acceptance and tolerance on campuses.

However, it is important to note some caveats and nuances that come with this topic.  First, student clubs are as diverse and dynamic as the students of which they're composed.  Especially in the context of graduate schools, leadership and interest can wax and wane, resulting in clubs that are very active some years but inactive the next.  In addition, LGBTQQIA clubs can have very different objectives: some may be geared towards the social aspects (e.g. hosting parties and mixers); others may address education (e.g. bringing in speakers, highlighting inclusive language, hosting events that raise awareness); while others may focus on the political (e.g. encouraging student activism, protests, petitions).  Furthermore, some of the clubs and groups listed here comprise only veterinary students (such as student chapters of the LGVMA) while other clubs comprise students of different health professions (such as Lambda and Friends of Western University), while other clubs represent students in both graduate and undergraduate programs.

In the context of graduate schools, the concept of student groups requires further consideration.  In my (SF) experience, I've found many graduate students are less inclined to participate in LGBT groups (and groups in general) due to their busy schedules and the idea that they are in graduate school for professional training.  Similarly, others have expressed they've received a lot of support or have participated extensively in student groups in their undergraduate education and do not feel the need to participate in student organizations in graduate school.  For those who DO choose to participate, busier schedules often hinder a group's ability to maintain consistency to the level of support/activities the group is able to provide.  Finally, some schools have the benefit of having both an undergraduate and graduate student population, which can translate into a greater ability to provide infrastructural/institutional support, such as through LGBT Resource Centers.  On the flip side, schools with both populations may not have clubs that are able to address both groups, and some LGBT groups may be more targeted towards undergraduates.

With ALL this in mind, check out 
the list
for current support organizations at your school.
Is your organization/club not represented?  Are the contact links outdated?  Are there glaring errors?  Shoot us an email at: broadspectrumoutreach@gmail.com

Here are some screen shots for quick reference (we recommend the actual list for access to the links):
USA:  Schools in Alabama and California
 California continued-Florida
Illinois cont-Iowa
 Iowa cont-Massachusetts
 Mississippi-New York
 New York cont-Ohio
 Ohio cont-Pennsylvania
 Pennsylvania cont-Tennessee
 Tennessee cont-Washington
 Washington cont-Wisconsin
 Wisconsin cont-CANADA
 Canada-cont to CARIBBEAN

**** Edited 10/2 to include Ontario Veterinary College's Diversity Club****
**** Edited 8/2 to correct the information for the following
1.  Changed Iowa State University and University of Pennsylvania contact information
2.  Included VOICE (Veterinary Students as One in Culture and Ethnicity) contacts from their officer website; however, it's unclear when the roster was last updated.
3.  Included Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Chairs at their representative universities.
Broad Spectrum Chairs
Secretary-Audrey Weaver, Tuskegee University
Outreach Co-Chairs-William Gilles, University of Wisconsin; Sonia Fang, Western University of Health Sciences
Webmaster: William Gilles
Blogger: Sonia Fang
LGVMA Student Representative: Allison Gutwillig, University of Wisconsin
Intern/Resident Chair: Nikki Wright, University of Pennsylvania
Alumni Relations: Ruthie Parsley, UC Davis
Legislation Chair: Jillian Zientek, The Ohio State University*****

Saturday, July 2, 2011

How LGBT-friendly is your veterinary school?

If you're a prospective veterinary student or current student in veterinary school, you may wonder if your school or dream school is LGBT-friendly.  There are many things one may look for in an attempt to address this question, many of which depend on the individual.  Are there campus resources or organizations (a post soon to come!)?  Is there a cohesive LGBT community?  What is the general attitude or atmosphere?  Are students and faculty members comfortable with or informed on LGBT issues, or is the attitude one of "don't ask, don't tell"?

One barometer of acceptance comes from examining a school's 
Non-Discrimination Policy.

This policy basically states what forms of discrimination a school will not accept.  In the United States, schools are, by law, required to prevent discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, disability, and veteran status.  

For the LGBT community, discrimination can come in many forms.  Three pertinent forms are discrimination based on sexual orientation (an individual's preference in terms of sexual or romantic relationship with others), discrimination based on gender identity, and discrimination based on gender expression.  For the unfamiliar, the Ontario Human Rights Commission defines gender identity as:
An individual’s intrinsic sense of self, particularly the sense of being male or female.  Gender identity may or not conform to a person’s birth assigned sex. Personal characteristics that are associated with gender identity include selfimage, physical and biological appearance, expression, behaviour, and conduct, as they relate to gender.  A person's gender identity is different from their sexual orientation.  
Gender expression relates to how an individual expresses their gender identity, e.g. in how they dress or behave.  

The Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association (LGVMA), has recently discussed more inclusive non-discrimination policies for veterinary schools when they presented at the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium (NAVMEC).  They made strong arguments to include "gender identity" as one of the protected groups under veterinary school policy.  We highly encourage you to check out their report here.  

In the following infographic, we have

  • Highlighted in green: schools that prohibit discrimination based on all three forms 
  • Highlighted in red: those schools that do not explicitly prohibit discrimination of all three forms.  
  • Listed Employment Protection based on State (US), Territory (Canada), or Federal (Caribbean) level--this is important especially down the line, since it tells you whether you can be fired from your job just for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or gender-noncomforming.  
    • Green indicates: employment protection for both sexual orientation and gender identity in both private and public employment.  
    • Red: States/Territories/Islands that offer zero protection--for several Caribbean islands, homosexuality is even criminalized.  

So without further ado, click on the image below to view the current status of the veterinary schools in North America and the Caribbean.  

* indicates that your employment protection is only applicable if you're employed by the state
^The Canadian Human Rights Law currently prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation but there is legislation pending that would include gender identity and expression.  For more information on this, click here.

The Green!
Currently, Colorado State University, Purdue University, Tufts University, The University of Minnesota, Cornell University, The Ohio State University, Washington State University, and the University of Prince Edward Island have policies which explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.  California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington all prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for both private and public employees.  

For full access to links and the actual wording of school policies please click here.
For more information on what protections you have in terms of employment, educate yourself on efforts towards passing the Employee Non-Discrimination Act and where your state currently stands.

Do you see any outdated or incorrect information?  Email us at broadspectrumoutreach[at]gmail[dot]com