Oberlin Blogs

Dear Trans Prospies,

April 26, 2024

Ozzie Frazier '27

As you may know, there has been a push in recent months to institute anti-trans legislation in states across the country. Here in Ohio, the most recent version of transphobic legislation is House Bill 68, which would effectively ban gender-affirming care for anyone under the age of 18 and place restrictions on trans students who wish to compete on women’s sports teams at any level. HB68 was meant to go into effect on Wednesday, April 24th, but has since been temporarily blocked by the ACLU. It’s unclear right now how this specific situation will play out, but this bill is not the only one of its kind; there are several other forms of potential anti-trans legislation on the horizon. HB68 and bills like it have started to raise concerns for many prospective students, and rightfully so. People want to know if it's safe to be trans at Oberlin.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t think there’s a simple yes or no answer to that question. Here’s what I can say: my first year at Oberlin has been the most gender-affirming experience of my life so far. I am surrounded every day by genderqueer students and faculty like myself. I don’t remember the last time I was misgendered or deadnamed. I spend significant amounts of time each week discussing transness and what it means to deconstruct the gender binary. I’ve also been working with one of my friends for the past three months to collect art that showcases trans joy. This past week, we published and distributed a 30+ page zine entitled Oberlin Trans Joy Collective that includes work from students all over campus. 

This project started in the first week of February, when Oberlin’s Multicultural Resource Commons hosted the first in a series of dialogues designed to bring people together in the face of HB68’s forthcoming implementation. At the end of the dialogue, we were each asked to share something we planned to do to take care of ourselves going forward. One of my friends said he was planning to make a lot of art, and I said something about being in collaboration with my community. We both kind of looked at each other for a moment, and by the time we left the dialogue that day we had created a loose plan to collect art and writing from trans students and put together a booklet responding to HB68. Throughout the process, we received incredible support, both from students and faculty. The result is quite beautiful, if I do say so myself.

All that being said, I speak from a place of relative privilege in terms of my safety in Ohio. I’m not on HRT, and I’m not a trans woman seeking to compete on a varsity sports team. I can pass as my gender assigned at birth fairly easily and I feel very safe leaving campus if I need to. Even if I was on hormones, I’m a legal adult and therefore would still be able to access gender-affirming care in the state of Ohio. From what I understand, there is potential future legislation that could limit Oberlin’s ability to provide multi-stall gender neutral bathrooms—which would impact me more directly—but my impression is that the administration is prepared to accommodate students as much as possible if that problem arises. I have several friends who have been on HRT since before they came to Oberlin, and the majority of them have continued to receive gender-affirming care in their home states, even prior to HB68’s introduction. As far as I know, Oberlin’s student health center has never and does not currently prescribe HRT, but they will continue to offer blood work and administer testosterone shots for any trans students who may need them, even if HB68 takes effect.

Ultimately, I can’t say whether Ohio will be a safe place for every trans and genderqueer student. It’s impossible to know how exactly the legal policies may change over the next 5 to 10 years, but as of right now there are only a few circumstances that would make Oberlin specifically a bad choice if HB68 goes into effect:

  1. If you will be under the age of 18 when you arrive at Oberlin, you will not be able to access gender-affirming care (in the state) until you come of age.
  2. If you are a trans woman looking to compete on a women’s varsity sports team, Oberlin probably won't be able to provide the experience you are looking for.

Looking more long-term, it’s hard to predict how this landscape will evolve. If you don’t currently have access to gender-affirming care in your home state and are intending to pursue it once you get to college, there’s a chance that Ohio legislation will change during your four years here, which may or may not be a risk you’re willing to take on. That being said, if none of those criteria apply to you specifically, I would say that you will be largely unaffected by the current legislation. The final decision is up to you, but know that if you do choose Oberlin, you will be supported wholeheartedly by your peers, faculty, and administration. I'll be here cheering you on every step of the way. I wish you the best of luck!

With love,


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