A health and advocacy organization dedicated to serving the unique medical needs of the LGBTQ community recently donated $5,000 in financial aid for LGBTQ students at the UConn School of Law.
The gift from Health Care Advocates International (HCAI) will be used to help provide basic needs for LGBTQ students, such as costs associated with healthcare, mental health, or even clothes for those who are transitioning.
“Often, it is the more well-known programs like athletics and mainstream clubs that get the most attention. Our focus is to support LGBTQ students, to make sure they are seen, and they are heard,” says Thomas Evans, HCAI’s creative director. “Our hope is that they know we are here to support them.”
Megan Medlicott, a second-year law student and vice president of Lambda, the law school’s LGBTQ organization, says the funds will help students.
“Basically, the idea is to help students with financial issues surrounding mental health, basic healthcare, and gender-affirming healthcare because a lot of insurance companies don’t cover stuff like that,” Medlicott says.
Karen DeMeola ’91 CLAS, ’96 JD, assistant dean for finance, administration, and enrollment, says she met with HCAI leaders to talk about the changing demographic of students who are trans or nonbinary.
“This could be a life-changing donation for our students,” DeMeola says. “Law students with financial hardship do not have access to resources to cover the additional costs associated with being queer and trans in the legal profession.”
In addition to providing the gift, HCAI hopes to build an ongoing relationship with the law school to provide ongoing support for students.
“We are extremely grateful to Health Care Advocates International for helping us support the LGBTQ members of our student body,” says Eboni S. Nelson, law school dean. “It’s important to address the challenges that trans and nonbinary law students face and to create a welcoming environment at the law school and in the profession where they feel that they truly belong because they do. UConn Law looks forward to partnering with HCAI in this important endeavor.”
HCAI is a nonprofit that serves the unique medical needs of the LGBTQ community and works to help end the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV/AIDS. Based in Stratford, Connecticut, the organization provides prevention, education, advocacy, and treatment to help those in the LGBTQ community and assists with a medical clinic targeting HIV in Zimbabwe.