This guide was created by Everyone Allied Against Homophobia (EAAH) as an effort to point queer and allied students to the many resources available at Columbia and Barnard.
A note on language: throughout this guide we will be using the terms “LGBTQA” and “queer.” LGBTQA stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, and Allied, and is a generally accepted umbrella term for the entire community. The word “queer” is also used to refer to the entire community; many students at Columbia prefer the term queer for its political implications and inclusivity.
This guide is always being updated. Do you have suggestions? Comments? Contact EAAH at firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone Allied Against Homophobia (EAAH)
Everyone Allied Against Homophobia (EAAH) is Columbia University's anti-homophobia taskforce and queer political activist group. We work to fight homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of oppression within the school community and beyond. EAAH also serves as the University’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA); we welcome and love allies. We respect each person’s personal journey and will never ask you to share or declare your sexuality – although you are more than welcome to! All are welcome.
Columbia Queer Alliance (CQA)
Founded in 1967, the Columbia Queer Alliance has a legacy of pioneering activism and social justice, breaking down barriers and fostering strong, engaged communities. We have continued to stand up, speak out and organize for queer students and their allies by facilitating educational workshops, open forums, speaker series, and social events like our First Friday Dance. Membership is open to all CU students.
"Q" is Barnard College's only group for LGBTQA students. We are open to students of all school affiliations, sexual orientations, and gender identities. Q provides a safe space for queer and allied students to meet, mix, mingle, and come together as a community. Our weekly meetings are dedicated to discussing and responding to issues that affect us as members of the Barnard, Columbia, and global queer communities. Please e-mail us at email@example.com for more information or to join our listserv!
Gayava is the Jewish gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allied group at the Columbia/Barnard Hillel. We host social, educational, religious, and cultural events for members and allies of both the Jewish and LGBTQA communities. We provide queer, Jewish space on campus and within Hillel, and work to build connections between communities. Gayava also works to foster awareness of LGBTQA issues in the greater Jewish community, and awareness of religious issues within the greater LGBTQA community.
The overall objective of Proud Colors is to implement a comprehensive action program to promote an understanding of the past, present, and future experiences, problems, and needs of queer students of color. We aspire to continue the tradition started by Queers of Color, which was officially recognized in 1994 by the Student Governing Board of Earl Hall, and later by the Activities Board of Columbia in 1999. One of the functions of Proud Colors is to further knowledge and acceptance of the queer of color community through discussions, lectures, and other social events. Proud Colors also serves as an independent social, political, support, and discussion group and welcomes all people concerned with the advancement of the interests of queer people of color.
GendeRevolution is Columbia's first organization devoted solely to trans rights. We aim to provide safe spaces on campus for all gender non-conforming and trans members of the Columbia community.
QuAM (Queer Awareness Month)
Queer Awareness Month (QuAM) is a collaboration between Columbia University and Barnard College that takes place in October. QuAM strives to celebrate queer identities and to increase awareness about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues and history. Join us on Low Steps at the start of October to grab a calendar and chat with the committee. Just look for the rainbow balloon arch!
Q House is a unique residential community dedicated to providing a safe living environment for LGBTQA students at Columbia. Q House residents strive to foster a safe campus environment and engage the Columbia community in meaningful dialogue about LGBTQA issues. In addition, residents seek to foster a creative environment of collaboration that focuses on the intersections of identity and further builds community among all Columbia students. To this end, Q House sponsors events for the larger Columbia community focused on building safe and comfortable social and educational environments in which students feel welcome.
Columbia Mentoring Initiative (CMI)
CMI focuses on the adjustment of first year students to Columbia University and college life. The Peer Advisors and “family” members emphasize leadership and identity development, emotional health, academic success, belonging, and community consciousness.
Queer Peers and Allies
Queer Peers and Allies provides support for LGBTQA students at Columbia University through regular online and in-person peer support and programming. It also provides opportunities for students to create and maintain a sense of LGBTQA community. QPAs are not peer counselors or educators, but are a source of referrals and guidance to the campus community. To join the Queer Peers & Allies team, contact Lea Robinson, Assistant Director, LGBT Programming & Advisement, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-854-1675, or Will Simpkins, Program Director, Community and Diversity Initiatives, at email@example.com or (212) 854-2033.
CU SpeakOUT provides an avenue through which straight-identified allies and LGBTQ people can actively express their affirmation for the LGBTQA community at Columbia University. CU SpeakOUT members are identified by displaying the CU SpeakOUT symbol and thus signify that their space is safe to talk about LGBTQA issues and that people can be "out" or reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity. All students, faculty and staff are welcome to join.
Barnard Queers and Allies Network (BQAN)
The Barnard Queers and Allies Network was established to create a visible LGBTQ-support community at Barnard. Look for the blue cards with the rainbow symbol across campus or this list of those displaying the BQAN card!
The CQA—Columbia Queer Alliance—is the oldest queer student organization in the world. In early 1967, a few years before the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a group of twelve Columbia and Barnard College students gathered in secret to discuss the formation of a ‘Student Homophile League” as a support and discussion group for those with sexual feelings for their own gender. After meeting for some time, it was decided that the students would apply for recognition as an official student organization. Accordingly, the leader of the group, Robert Martin, going by the name “Stephen Donaldson,” filed the appropriate paperwork and waited.
On April 19, 1967, immediately after the university granted the request for recognition, the Columbia Daily Spectator got hold of the story and sparked a loud and vicious campus debate on homosexuality. This came at the same time that the African-American students first began to agitate for better treatment and the infamous Students for a Democratic Society began the process that led to the 1968 riots and the temporary shutdown of the university. On May 3, the New York Times ran a front page article entitled, “Columbia Charters Homosexual Group,” which provoked a national controversy and very nearly cost the students involved in the SHL their careers at Columbia. The Dean of the College David Truman called the group “quite unnecessary,” and the director of counseling services, Dr. Anthony Philip, feared that the group would encourage “deviant behavior.”
It was only with the support of University Chaplain Rev. John Cannon that the group was able to continue, and even then it was forbidden to serve a social function for fear that this would lead to violations of New York State sodomy laws. In 1971, as a result of intense protests by group members, the administration agreed to establish the “Furnald Gay Lounge,” which is now known as the Steven Donaldson Lounge, thereby providing a safe space for queer students. The administration also lifted the ban preventing the group from serving a social function. Shortly thereafter, Rick Shur and other group members founded the First Friday Dance, a monthly event that continues to draw crowds from all over the city. It was at about the same time that the group first chose another name to reflect its mission within changing social mores.
In addition to CQA, several other queer organizations have come along to add to Columbia’s rich history. The various other groups—Everyone Allied Against Homophobia, Proud Colors, GendeRevolution, Gayava, and Q—each mobilize different sectors of Columbia’s queer community. Within this variety of organizations, students can find their own niche while working toward the common goal of promoting equality for all. Recent initiatives by the queer community include advocating for gender-neutral housing and successfully protesting the return of the NROTC to campus. The housing campaign is ongoing and adds another chapter to Columbia University’s long and proud queer heritage of activism and community building.
Gay Health Advocacy Project (GHAP)
Amsterdam Practice Group, Health Services // (212) 854-6655
The Gay Health Advocacy Project (GHAP) promotes the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people on-campus by providing HIV and STI testing, counseling, and treatment during either walk-in-hours (see website) or regularly scheduled appointments. GHAP staff and volunteers also offer services concerning sexuality, sexual health, and LGBTQ support services. The HIV antibody test provided through GHAP is confidential, open to the entire Columbia community (including partners), and provided at no charge. GHAP is a volunteer driven organization and provides training for volunteers during the fall semester. Please contact if interested.
Daniel B. Chiarilli Co-Coordinator Gay Health Advocacy Program (GHAP) firstname.lastname@example.org
Alice! Health Promotion Program
Wien Hall, Main Floor // (212) 854-5453
Alice! Health Promotion Program seeks to make the campus healthier by connecting students with information and resources, cultivating healthy attitudes and behaviors, and fostering a culture that values and supports a healthy community. Alice! provides workshops and trainings, programs such as CU Move (formerly the 100 m.i.l.e. club) and Stressbusters, and is home to Go Ask Alice!, the health question-and-answer website.
Go Ask Alice!
Go Ask Alice! is a leading health question-and-answer Internet service with an archive of over 3,000 in-depth responses to questions sent to Alice!’s e-mail inbox. The categories—Sexuality, Sexual Health, Emotional Health, Relationships, Alcohol & Others Drugs, General Health, Fitness & Nutrition—are not LGBTQ specific, but they provide answers to many questions applicable to the queer community. If it’s on your mind, it’s probably on Go Ask Alice!
Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Program
3rd floor, Lerner Hall // (212) 854-3500
The Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Program (SVPRP) provides comprehensive and integrated education, support, and advocacy about sexual and relationship violence. Through innovative programming and community collaboration, SVPRP empowers students to heal from sexual violence, make informed decisions, and take action to end sexual and relationship violence.
Men’s Peer Education Program (Part of SVPRP)
3rd floor, Lerner Hal // (212) 854-2136
The Program works with men to strengthen attitudes that prevent and interrupt sexual and relationship violence. It offers educational events, prevention strategies, and workshops to engage men to end sexual and relationship violence. It examines notions of masculinities and manhood, and their relationship to violence toward men and women.
Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center
112 Hewitt Hall // (212) 854-WALK
The Barnard Columbia Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center (RC/AVSC) offers a safe and supportive place for survivors of sexual assault and other forms of violence, and provides peer education to the campus community. If you are a survivor of sexual assault and would like to talk to someone immediately, please contact a Peer Advocate by calling 212 854 WALK (24 hours a day/7 days a week) or 212 854 HELP (every night from 7-11pm during the academic year).
Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS)
8th Floor Lerner // Appointments (212) 854-2878
After-hours clinician-on-call (212) 854-9797
CPS supports the psychological and emotional wellbeing of the campus community by providing counseling, consultations, and crisis interventions to all undergraduate and graduate students who have paid the Health Service Fee.
CPS offers short-term individual counseling, couples counseling for students and their partners, student life support groups, medication consultation, training and emergency consultation.
Students are encouraged to select a CPS clinician (bios and photos are available online). CPS adheres to strict standards of confidentiality.
Furman Counseling Center
100 Hewitt Hall // (212) 854-2092
Furman Counseling is the mental health and counseling services center at Barnard College. We provide individual and group counseling, consultations, outreach, referrals, evaluations for medical issues, eating disorders treatment, and emergencies services. We also provide online resources.
Alcohol and Substance Abuse Awareness Program (ASAP)
100 Hewitt Hall // (212) 854-2128
The Alcohol and Substance Awareness Program (ASAP) serves the Barnard Community by providing drug and alcohol education, prevention, and intervention efforts on campus. Our purpose is to promote the healthy development of students and to enable them to reach their full potential. Our aim is to encourage students to explore their options and ultimately make choices that are positive for them as individuals.
119 Reid Hall // (212) 854-3063
Well-Woman is the health promotion program and wellness center at Barnard College. Our mission is to promote the health and wellness of Barnard students through a variety of programming activities. Our philosophical approach to wellness focuses on an integration of body, mind and spirit, which moves us toward a more proactive, healthier existence. Programming includes peer and staff education, the well-woman newsletter, wellness floors, the wellness committee, a Q&A column, Tuesday night W-W clinics, campus-wide events, resources, workshops, and the well-woman email list.
Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWAG)
763 Schermerhorn Extension // (212) 854-3277
The Institute for Research on Women and Gender is the locus of interdisciplinary feminist scholarship and teaching at Columbia University. Offering an undergraduate degree program in Women's and Gender Studies and graduate certification in Feminist Scholarship, the Institute draws its faculty from all disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and provides rigorous training in interdisciplinary practice. Courses survey the history and theory of gender studies, preparing students for professional work or further academic engagement in the field.
Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW)
101 Barnard Hall // (212) 854-2067
The Center for Research on Women was founded in 1971 as part of Barnard's longtime commitment to women's equality and to show Barnard's enthusiasm for the new women's movement. The aim of the Center, as articulated by its founding charter, is "to assure that women can live and work in dignity, autonomy, and equality." More than three decades later, we continue to pursue that goal in many ways: by promoting inquiry and advancing knowledge about women; by helping to keep women's issues on the forefront of college life; by seeking to increase ties among diverse groups of women; and by reaching out to students, faculty, administrators, and alumnae, as well as scholars, activists and artists beyond Barnard's gates.
Office of Multicultural Affairs
401 Lerner Hall, MC 2607 // (212) 854-4809
Responding to the needs of our diverse undergraduate student body, the CC & SEAS Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) aims to promote an inclusive university climate by acting as an educational resource that prepares students to succeed in a heterogeneous and ever-changing society. The Office provides a supportive environment for intercultural communication, constructive interaction and mutual understanding.
Office of Multicultural Affairs (Barnard)
Barnard’s Office for Multicultural Affairs is committed to fostering diversity and dialogue on Barnard's campus. We provide opportunities for students to learn from and about one another. Working closely with the President, trustees, deans, faculty, administrators, and staff we are also invested in cultivating a campus climate that is welcoming and respectful of those from different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Please join us in planning innovative programs and projects that accomplish these ideals.
Intercultural Resource Center
552 W. 114th Street;
The Intercultural Resource Center (IRC) is devoted to promoting a just society and exploring issues of interculturalism and diversity within and beyond the Columbia University community. The IRC provides a forum for education and social exchange that encourages self-discovery and a greater awareness and appreciation of cultural history within and between communities on campus. We endeavor to empower students, faculty and staff with the tools to successfully navigate their environments and thus to positively impact the community at large.
LGBTQA Resource Hub // “The Hub” (212) 854-1675
The Office of Multicultural Affairs operates a LGBTQA resource hub within the IRC. The Hub is staffed by OMA and contains information about campus resources and events. Additionally the space has resources for student organizing including computers, phone, fax, copier and file storage.
Stephen Donaldson Lounge
The Stephen Donaldson Lounge is located in the basement of Furnald Hall. It was previously called the “Gay Lounge” and is dedicated in Stephen Donaldson’s memory. The lounge features wireless access, cable television and a comfortable atmosphere. Many of the queer groups on campus utilize the lounge for their meetings as well as for socializing.
**Barnard students need not be signed into Furnald to access the lounge. Desk attendants should be aware of this policy.**
|Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies||WMST 1001|
|Discourses of Desire: Intro to LGBTQ Studies||WMST 3130|
|Gender and HIV/AIDS||WMST 4304|
|Sex, Gender, and Transgender Queries||WMST 4309|
|Queer Theories and Histories||WMST 4320|
|Gender and Sexuality in Ancient Greece||CLCV 4110|
|Issues of Gender in Ancient/Medieval Christianity||RELI 4120|
|Women and Gender in Latin America||HIST 3681|
|Gender and Empire||HIST 3803|
|Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality||PSYC 3152|
|The Sociology of Sexuality||SOCI 3318|
|Gender and Sexuality in Latin American Cultures||SPAN 3150|
Check out the online Course Catalogues for more listings!
These staff and faculty have volunteered to act as resources for incoming first-years and all LGBTQA students at any of the undergraduate colleges. Feel free to e-mail with any questions or concerns!
We asked LGBTQA students at Columbia and Barnard for their favorite queer books, movies, date spots, and more. If you’re interested in exploring popular queer culture, here are some great places to start!
Favorite Queer Books
Rubyfruit Jungle; Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit; Orlando; Angels in America; Cunt; Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers; Naked in the Promised Land; Zami; Giovanni’s Room; At Swim, Two Boys; Realm of Possibility; Boy Meets Boy; Sputnik Sweetheart; Tales of the Lavender Menace; Empress of the Universe; Rainbow Boys; Dare, Truth or Promise; Are You Blue?; Keeping You A Secret; When I Knew; The Invention of Love.
Favorite Queer Authors
David Levithan, Holly Black, Virginia Woolf, Augusten Burroughs, Walt Whitman, David Sedaris.
Favorite Queer Movies
Yossi & Jagger; Imagine Me and You; Best in Show; But I’m a Cheerleader; Victor/Victoria; The Incredibly Awesome Adventures of Two Girls in Love; Paris is Burning; My Own Private Idaho; Bound; Formula 17; Milk; V for Vendetta; Across the Universe; Little Miss Sunshine; The Producers; Itty Bitty Titty Committee; D.E.B.S.; Boys Don’t Cry; Brokeback Mountain; The Hours; Not Another Gay Movie; Get Real; Beautiful Thing; Bring It On; Fried Green Tomatoes.
Favorite Queer Performers/Artists
Antony and the Johnsons, Melissa Etheridge, Tegan and Sara, Sarah Bettens, Missy Higgins, Kaki King, Sleater-Kinney, k.d. lang, Alicia Keys, Ani Difranco, Gravytrain!!!!, Girlyman, Neil Patrick Harris, Catherine Opie, Le Tigre.
Favorite Queer TV Shows
Queer As Folk; The L Word; Queer Eye for the Straight Guy; Ugly Betty; RuPaul’s Drag Race; Six Feet Under; Will and Grace; Ellen.
Favorite Queer Comedians
Ellen DeGeneres, Eddie Izzard, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Cho, Kate Clinton.
Favorite Queer Websites: afterellen.com, whyarepeoplegay.com, oasisjournals.com, gaycenter.org, girlfriendisahomo.com., pam’shouseblend.com, goodasyou.org, autostraddle.com.
Favorite Queer Social Spots
Q House, Chelsea Piers, Suite, Gingers, Park Slope, BK, The Cubby Hole, the LGBT Center (Youth Enrichment Services), Babeland.
Favorite Queer Events on Campus
The Student Anti-Homophobia Leadership Summit (SAHLS), First Friday dances, Q meetings, Queer Awareness Month (QuAM), “What is queer sex” discussion, Queer Sushi, Queer Cupcakes, Queer Curry, Gayava Shabbats, Queer Prom, Barnard Queer Issues Forum, Babeland workshop, GenderF*CK
Favorite Queer Activist Opportunities
Annual AIDS Walk, SPEAK, FIERCE!, Queers for Economic Justice, and volunteering at the LGBT center.
Favorite Coffee/Snack Places in the City
Nussbaum & Wu, Magnolia Bakery, Alice’s Tea Cup, Le Monde, Crisp, Milano’s, Artopolis, Crepes on Columbus.
Favorite Date Spots
Rack & Soul, Max Brenner’s, Campo, Central Park, Lincoln Center movie theaters, Zen Palate, Bronx Zoo, Crooked Tree Creperie, Community Food and Juice, Teariffic, PostCrypt, Bowery Poetry Club, picnics in
Central Park, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Cultural Approaches to the American Past; American Women in the 20th Century; The U.S. in the World; Literary Criticism and Theory; Human Species and Their Place in Nature; Philosophy and Feminism; Psychology and Women; History of African American Music; U.S. Foreign Relations; Introduction to Poetry Writing; Latinos and Film; Behavioral Biology of the Living Primates; History of the South; Reacting to the Past.
Teachers You Should Take a Class With Before Graduating
Mark Carnes, Rosalind Rosenberg, Neferti Tadiar, Constance Brown, Rebecca Young, Frances Negron-Muntaner, Elizabeth Esch, Anders Stephanson, Lisa Tiersten, William Lowe, Mahmood Mumdani, Saskia Hamilton.
“I can't have a favorite! My experiences being queer at Columbia - whether they have been fun, challenging, thought-provoking, or frustrating - they've all been so formative to who I am. The events don't have to be high profile. A talk over coffee with a queer friend who's there for you can be more life-changing than seeing the entire queer community together at one big event. “
“I really liked the discussion at ROOTed about bisexuality during QuAM. It was really interesting to hear different viewpoints on the topic.”
“Take advantage of everything that Barnard and Columbia have to offer! If you don't know where to find something or how to seek support, just ask a queer student leader and they will be happy to help you out!”
“Favorite moments: came back this summer for the Dyke March and Pride Parade. Late nights in Butler/Lerner with our queer study party: gay takeover style. Went to Times Square for the Presidential Elections, stood next to an adorable gay couple, hugged them when Obama won : )”
“The friendships I've made in the queer community at Columbia have completely changed my life. I'm a stronger person because of their support and I've grown so much as a person. Make sure your community is getting the love, strength, and support it needs, and it's amazing what we all can accomplish! Even if you're not actively involved, reach out - there are tons of amazing friendships to make!”
These students are involved in the queer community at Barnard and Columbia. They have volunteered to act as resources for you. Feel free to e-mail them with questions, concerns, or just to say hi!
From the Barnard 2009-2010 Student Handbook (excerpts)
“Barnard College is guided by the precept that in no aspect of it’s employment practices or educational programs should there be disparate treatment of persons because of improper considerations of race, creed, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, or disability. This principle is to be observed in employment of faculty, staff, and students; in the admission, housing and education of students; and in policies governing College extracurricular program. While Barnard College has long had an express policy against improper discrimination, it is to be understood the policy also explicitly encompasses the goal that faculty, staff, and students are to be able to work and study free from harassment by peers, co-workers, students, supervisors or teachers, or third parties.
Harassment is any conduct, on or off campus, that has the intent or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual or group’s education or work performance or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational, work, or living environment. Harassment on the basis of race, color, gender, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or age includes harassment of an individual in terms of a stereotyped group characteristic, or because of that person’s identification with a particular group. Appropriate disciplinary actions may be taken…”
From the Columbia University 2009-2010 Bulletin (Excerpts)
“Columbia University is committed to providing a learning environment free from unlawful discrimination and harassment, and to fostering a nurturing and vibrant community founded upon the fundamental dignity and worth of all of its members. Consistent with this commitment and with applicable laws, it is the policy of the University not to tolerate unlawful discrimination or harassment in any form and to provide students who feel that they are victims of discrimination or harassment with mechanisms for seeking redress.
Columbia University does not discriminate against any person in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other University-administered programs or permit the harassment of any student or applicant on the basis of race, color, sex, gender (including gender identity and expression), pregnancy, religion, creed, marital status, partnership status, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, military status, or any other legally protected status.
Nothing in this policy shall abridge academic freedom or the University’s educational mission. Prohibitions against discrimination and harassment do not extend to statements or written materials that are germane to classroom subject matter.
All members of the University community are expected to adhere to the applicable policies and to cooperate with the procedures for responding to complaints of discrimination and harassment. All are encouraged to report any conduct believed to be in violation of these policies. All students and applicants for admission are protected from coercion, intimidation, interference, or retaliation for filing a complaint or assisting in an investigation under any of the applicable policies and laws. Subjecting another to retaliatory, intimidating, or coercive conduct for filing a complaint or participating in an investigation is prohibited and may be addressed as a separate violation.”
Like the blue lights on campus that mark your connection to public safety, this section includes the basics of what queer and allied students need to know to stay safe.
Where can I get an HIV test?
GHAP (Gay Health Advocacy Program) provides free, confidential HIV testing. Located in John Jay and with walk in appointments, GHAP is a convenient way to know your status. While you’re there, grab some free condoms and lube so you can continue to practice safe sex.
If you’re more comfortable off campus, try the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center for comprehensive and sex-positive health care and HIV testing regardless of your ability to pay (see “New York City Resources” for more information). Callen-Lorde’s Health Outreach to Teens (HOTT) Program is a comprehensive program specifically designed to meet the needs of LGBTQ young adults ages 13-24. HOTT’s services are accessible at a youth-only medical site at Callen-Lorde (356 West 18th St), and at a traveling medical van. HOTT’s services are confidential and offered in an accessible, nonjudgmental, caring atmosphere. They are provided free of cost or at low charge (insurance is accepted). Go to www.callen-lorde.org for more information.
Recent studies show that HIV in NYC is on the rise among young men who have sex with men (MSM). New HIV diagnoses among MSM under age 30 have increased by 33% during the past six years, from 374 in 2001 to almost 500 in 2006. New diagnoses have doubled among MSM ages 13 to19, while declining by 22% among older MSM. The under-30 group now accounts for 44% of all new diagnoses among MSM in New York City, up from 31% in 2001. With this in mind, remember how simple and important it is to wear a condom every time.
Women who sleep with women should remember that HIV is not restricted to men or to those who engage in heterosexual sexual contact. Lesbian-identified women have been traditionally underserved by the health establishment, and often have increased risk for certain health issues because they have less frequent and less regular gynecological health care. Remember that gynecological health is important for all women! Callen-Lorde (www.callen-lorde.org) also offers lesbian health services if you are more comfortable in a lesbian-focused health environment.
How can I stay safe at a party?
Make decisions before you go out. Decide whether and how much you are going to drink, whether you want to go home with anyone, and whether you want to use any substances other than alcohol.
While you are out, always mix your own drinks and remember how many you’ve had. Be sure you know the potential interactions of any substances you are using (for instance, mixing opiates and alcohol can be extremely dangerous). Always use your friends as resources to help you make decisions.
The Barnard College Escort Services provides motorized transportation between 9 PM and 4 AM seven days a week. It can be reached by calling the Barnard Security Office (number below). Columbia University’s Escort Service provides trained student escorts from 11 PM to 3 AM every night that classes are in session (number below).
Be sure to have the following emergency numbers in your phone:
Barnard Security and Escort: (212) 854-3362
Columbia Security: (212) 854-2796
Columbia Escort Service (212) 854-7233
NYPD 26th Precinct: (212) 678-1311
St. Luke’s Emergency Room: (212) 523-3335
CAVA (Ambulance): (212) 854-5555
How can I stay safe going out at night?
Try going with a queer group for your first time at a club. Some groups hold unofficial social events off campus; these are great opportunities to explore the city and the queer social scene safely. If you don’t want to go out with a group, travel with friends.
Be aware of your surroundings: what are the nearby street names and landmarks? Does the neighborhood have an anti-gay reputation? Trust your intuition: do you feel comfortable in your surroundings? Do your best to avoid dark and isolated places. Keep your cell phone ready and accessible, but don’t talk or text message while walking on the street.
Prepare for the ride home. Carry enough cash for a taxi in case you don’t feel comfortable taking the subway home. Have a car service’s number in your phone in case you are in an area without many taxis. If you take the subway, ride in the car with the conductor.
What if my roommate is not queer friendly?
Try to be honest when you’re creating the roommate contract; if there is a problem later, you will be able to reference the contract. Try to have a conversation with your roommate; people don’t always realize that they are being insensitive. If necessary, ask your RA for assistance or a mediation. If you need to, don’t be afraid to ask for a room transfer. If you want more assistance, contact your Residential Life office.
What should I do if I’m sexually assaulted?
Consult the “University Services” section. Specifically, the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Program and the Race Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Centers will be very useful resources in a situation like this.
What should I do if I’m feeling depressed?
Consult the “University Services” section. The clinicians at Counseling and Psychological Services (Columbia students) and at Furman Counseling Services (Barnard students) are familiar with all types of issues, inclusive of LGBTQA concerns.
How do I report a bias-related or hate crime?
According to New York State, a “bias-related crime” or “hate crime” is any offensive or unlawful act motivated in whole or in part by a person’s, a group’s, or a place’s identification with a certain race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, gender or age.
All individuals who believe they may have been the victim of a hate crime or may have witnessed a hate crime are encouraged to report the incident to the Security Department immediately by calling x88 or (212) 854-3362, or by going to the Security Department office at 104 Barnard Hall so that the matter may be thoroughly investigated.
An individual, who believes he/she may have been the victim of a hate crime or may have witnessed a hate crime, should contact the Columbia University Department of Public Safety immediately. The Department of Public Safety can be reached at the Morningside Campus, located in room 111 Low Library by calling 212-854-2797.
While you are waiting document the scene: take a photo and try not to disturb the evidence. Also see the “University Services” section above for resources you may want to access if you have witnessed or been the victim of a hate crime.
YES (Youth Enrichment Services)
The LGBT Community Center
208 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011
The YES program is open to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people between the ages of 13 and 21. Everything in YES is free and confidential! The YES program exists to provide LGBT young people with community support to foster healthy development, in a safe, affirming, sex-positive, alcohol and drug-free environment.
Health Outreach To Teens (HOTT)
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
356 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
Health Outreach To Teens is a comprehensive program designed specifically to meet the medical and mental health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning adglescents and young adults ages 13-24. All of HOTT's confidential services, which are offered in an accessible, nonjudgmental, caring atmosphere, are provided free of charge or at low cost (insurance is accepted).