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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

LGBTQ+ at Potsdam

This webpage is a developing resource, and we welcome feedback and input from students, faculty, and staff in order to ensure that our resources are as excellent and up to date as possible.

Caitlin Kobylak '19, who is pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at SUNY Potsdam, discusses what it's like to be a student at SUNY Potsdam as a member of the LGBTQ community.

Creating Digital Community 

Since the global pandemic shifted our ways of interacting with one another, Jamey Merkel ’18 ’20, a community health graduate student, has been instrumental in the success of two new online communities established in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, the St. Lawrence County Help and Info Facebook group and the COVID 19 North Country Neighbors Helping Neighbors Facebook group.

read more

Joey Boswell ’18

As a military veteran, Joey Boswell ’18 found SUNY Potsdam later in life—a transformative decision that helped him transition from a tumultuous time in the U.S. Army.

Read more

Austin Raetz ’18

Austin Raetz just graduated summa cum laude and was accepted into a prestigious graduate program in History at Cornell University. What’s equally impressive is his passion and personal connection to his field of study, as he examines sexuality and gender roles through a historical lens.

Read more

Trans Resources

Gender Terminology

    • GLAAD
      • For a comprehensive glossary of terms pertaining to gender, in addition to helpful explanations regarding when and how to use appropriate terms, and reminders regarding terms to avoid and defamatory language, please click here for GLAAD’s Transgender Media Reference Guide.
    • GLSEN’s Gender Terminology Discussion Guide
      • Looking for a tool to help start a discussion around gender, help students better understand the concept of gender, or just hoping to better understand some essential terms? Please click here to access GLSEN’s Gender Terminology and Discussion Guide.
    • Harvard Medical School: Foundational Concepts and Affirming Terminology Related to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Sex Development

Pronoun Guide

    • For a basic overview of pronouns, please click here to check out GLSEN’s Pronoun Guide.
    • For a gender pronoun chart, please click here to access the Trans Student Educational Resources’ graphic.
    • Looking for a more in-depth consideration of pronouns and answers to questions you might have about pronouns and pronoun use? Please click here to access Time’s article, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Gender Neutral Pronouns.”
    • Still have questions? Please contact the Gender and Sexuality Coordinators with any questions you might have regarding pronouns and terminology. We are here to help!


On-Campus Resources:

Campus Policies

  • SUNY Potsdam Chosen First Name Policy
  • SUNY Potsdam Non-Discrimination Notice
  • SUNY Potsdam All Gender Restroom Facilities List- Academic Buildings
  • Gender Inclusive Housing
    • Residence Life is so excited to welcome students to our Gender Inclusive Housing on campus! Gender Inclusive Housing is an inclusive environment where students can live in the same room with any other student regardless of sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation in a safe and supportive community. Any student who chooses to live on this floor is expected to contribute positively to the Gender Inclusive Housing community by offering support and encouragement for the living environment, respecting floor members’ different motivations for choosing this living option as well as embracing and learning from experiences different from one’s own. Only students who wish to participate in the Gender Inclusive Housing themed community should seek this particular living arrangement. Students are also expected to actively participate in community events and abide by all College rules and regulations as outlined in the Student Handbook.

QTBIPOC Community Resources

  • Black Trans Advocacy Coalition: "The BTAC consists of a national advocacy center and affiliate state chapters. They work daily to end poverty, health inequity, and racist housing and employment systems to improve the lived experience of transgender people. Our work is based in peace building, community education, public policy initiatives, empowerment programs and direct services."
  • Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC): "Advancing justice for all trans people of color. We amplify our stories, support our leadership, and challenge issues of racism, transphobia, and transmisogyny. TPOCC envisions a world where trans people of color can live and work in safety, where health and economic equity are basic rights, and we are celebrated for our visibility and leadership in our workplaces, homes, and communities."
  • National Black Justice Coalition: "Since 2003, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) has been America’s leading national civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer+, and same gender loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS through coalition building, federal policy change, research, and education. Our mission is to end racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ+/SGL bias and stigma."

Mental and Physical Health

Campus Resources:

LGBTQ+ Support Group

  • The on-campus LGBTQ+ Support Group is run and organized by the Gender and Sexuality Coordinators and a therapist from the Counseling Center. These two offices are pooling resources in order to provide a welcoming and supportive space for LGBTQ+ students to come together in discussion around issues that pertain to their community and experiences. The group is designed to be shaped by the students who wish to participate in the meetings in order to ensure that the needs of the students are being met most effectively. 
  • Any student who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community is welcome to attend, and the meetings will be held twice a month on Wednesdays from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Due to restrictions around COVID-19, the meetings will be held via Zoom. Please click here for an updated list of dates, along with the Zoom links for each meeting, on Get Involved!

SUNY Potsdam Health Center: Student Health Services 

  • SUNY Potsdam Student Health Services (SHS) is committed to providing our students with a safe, welcoming environment providing culturally competent and inclusive healthcare for all individuals.  We understand that sexual and gender identities exist within a broad spectrum and those within this diverse spectrum have unique health care needs requiring supportive healthcare providers. Our clinic offers a safe environment that is open and affirming. We will always respect your need for privacy and confidentiality.

SUNY Potsdam Counseling Center

  • The SUNY Potsdam Counseling Center welcomes you to build a meaningful, therapeutic relationship with a licensed and experienced counselor.  The Counseling Center provides a safe, accepting and confidential place for you to process thoughts and feelings and work on your personal goals. 
  • We recognize the unique treatment needs of the LGBTQ+ community at SUNY Potsdam, and if you chose to make an appointment at our Counseling Center, you will speak confidentially with a licensed therapist who is familiar with issues facing people of diverse genders and sexualities. You can talk about any concerns you have, whether they are specific to your gender identity/sexual orientation or not.

The Counseling Center Staff members are a resource for you.  You are not alone, and we can’t wait to meet you.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, please call the office at (315) 267-2330 or email You will receive appointment reminder emails, and you can log onto the Student Health and Counseling Portal through BearPaws to see your appointment information

Social Services

  • SUNY Potsdam has established a Bear Care page, where many of the social services are listed that are available on campus and the surrounding community. While not all services are specifically focused on the LGBTQ+ community, you will be able to find many helpful resources here, such as the campus food pantry and the clothes closet.

Local Resources:


  • 24 Hour Crisis Services in St. Lawrence County
  • According to the St. Lawrence County Government, “Reachout is a free, confidential, non-judgmental crisis and information hotline serving residents of St. Lawrence County. They focus on crisis services and supportive listening, and they provide other services as needed. Reachout answers after-hours calls for many human services agencies in St. Lawrence County, and they connect callers with staff from other programs. Reachout operates a mobile crisis team that sends trained counselors to meet and assess people at risk at locations all around the county.”
  • To contact Reachout, please call (315) 265-2422, or click on the link above for more information.

Renewal House

 The mission of Renewal House is to “respond immediately to the needs of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in St. Lawrence County through services which empower victims and increase community awareness.”

On Campus Advocate

There will be a Renewal House Campus Advocate on campus on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. in Sisson Hall #217. No appointment is necessary.

24 Hour Crisis Line: (315) 379-9845 
Office Location:
3 Chapel Street
Canton, New York  13617

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
Summer Office Hours: Monday – Friday (8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
No Appointment Necessary
Collect Calls are Accepted
To find out more about the services Renewal House Offers, please click here.  

Northern Light Yoga

Northern Light Yoga is a welcoming and affirming “dedicated practice space for the traditions associated with the Svaroopa Vidya Ashram lineage. These include yoga, yoga therapy and meditation.” The studio is supportive of the LGBTQ+ community and hosts a number of in-person and remote classes. You can find out more about these offerings by clicking here. The studio also offers Vichara® Therapy, a “talk therapy approach, based in yogic philosophy.” These sessions can be conducted in-person or online during the pandemic. For more information about Vichara® Therapy, please click here, or contact the studio via phone at (315) 386-8461, or via email at

Daniel Soule, DO and Kylie Broughal, PA-C

Daniel Soule and Kylie Broughal are allies of the LGBTQ+ community and provide services at 6119 US Highway 11 in Canton, NY with a concentration on infectious diseases. You can contact their office with questions ranging from private and confidential STI testing to HIV prevention (both post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)) and HIV care. You can reach their office at (315) 261-5810.

BIPOC LGBTQ+ Resources:

Resources for Coming Out

  • Human Rights Campaign Coming Out Guide for the BIPOC community: The HRC has created a resource called, "Coming Out: Living Authentically as Black LGBTQ People" which is "designed for those embarking on their own coming out journey at the intersections of LGBTQ and Black identities. This guide aims to recognize the unique experiences Black LGBTQ people have in coming out, while understanding that coming out is a personal choice and the lifelong coming out experience is different for everyone."
  • Human Rights Campaign Resource Guide to Coming Out: "This guide was designed to help you through [the coming out] process in realistic and practical terms. It acknowledges that the experience of coming out and living openly covers the full spectrum of human emotion — from fear to euphoria. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation hopes this guide helps you meet the and opportunities that living openly offers to each of us."

Suicide Prevention


  • According to the St. Lawrence County Government, “Reachout is a free, confidential, non-judgmental crisis and information hotline serving residents of St. Lawrence County. They focus on crisis services and supportive listening, and they provide other services as needed. Reachout answers after-hours calls for many human services agencies in St. Lawrence County, and they connect callers with staff from other programs. Reachout operates a mobile crisis team that sends trained counselors to meet and assess people at risk at locations all around the county.”
  • To contact Reachout, please call (315) 265-2422, or click on the link above for more information.


National Resources

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 
    • This resource is “a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
    • This resource is free, available 24/7, and ready to help with any crisis.
  • Trevor Project: 866-488-7386
    • This organization “crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.”
    • They offer three service options:
      • TrevorLifeline: 866-488-7386
        • This “crisis intervention and suicide prevention phone service is available 24/7/365.”
      • TrevorChat
        • “Confidential online instant messaging with a Trevor Counselor, available 24/7.”
      • TrevorText: Text START to 678-678
        • “Confidential text messaging with a Trevor Counselor, available 24/7.”
  • Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860
    • This organization is run by and for trans people to provide peer support for the trans community.
    • Trans Lifeline has several additional resources for the trans community, such as an ID Change Library, Legal Support, Self Care/Emotional Support, and more.

LGBTQ+ Organizations

National Black Justice Coalition

Since 2003, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) has been America’s leading national civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer+, and same gender loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS through coalition building, federal policy change, research, and education. Our mission is to end racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ+/SGL bias and stigma.

  • For a comprehensive list of national BIPOC organizations, please click here

Local Organizations:


  • PLAG is a national organization that stands for Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. You can find out more about them by clicking here. According to North Country Prism, the St. Lawrence County chapter of this national support and advocacy organization meets regularly in the Unitarian Universalist Church, 3 1/2 East Main Street. Call the church office (386-2498) or REACHOUT (265-2422) for meeting information.

North Country Prism (PrismNY)

  • “PrismNY is the Northern New York's LGBTQ Concerns Group. It is a member organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Prism meets monthly and provides LGBTQ people with a place to meet, communicate, and promote self-identity and awareness.”
  • There are a small number of religious institutions that are affirming and inclusive in our area. If you would like further information, please contact the Gender and Sexuality Coordinators.

National Organizations:


  • GLSEN, which stands for “the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students.” GLSEN has developed a number of programs, such as Day of Silence and Professional Development, along with resources for educators and students.  They are also one of the leading research groups, as GLSEN “been conducting research and evaluation on LGBTQ issues in K-12 education since 1999. [Their] research staff members are nationally recognized experts, trusted by safe schools advocates and researchers alike to provide the facts about our national school climate.”
  • GLAAD “tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change…GLAAD works through entertainment, news, and digital media to share stories from the LGBTQ community that accelerate acceptance.” As a result, GLAAD provides an excellent Media Reference Guide, and a political Accountability Tracker.

Human Rights Campaign

  • Established in 1980, the mission of the HRC is to “to end discrimination against LGBTQ people and realize a world that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. HRC envisions a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are ensured equality and embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.” The Human Rights Campaign “partners with people across demographics, industries and governments to provide leadership on how to back up pro-equality statements with real action.”

National Center for Transgender Equality

  • "The National Center for Transgender Equality advocates to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people. In the nation’s capital and throughout the country, NCTE works to replace disrespect, discrimination, and violence with empathy, opportunity, and justice." On their web site, you can find lots of information about the transgender and non-binary community and specific issues ranging from aging, identity documents, and employment, to immigration and racial and economic justice. The "Know Your Rights" section may be particularly helpful in a variety of situations.

For a comprehensive list of national organizations, please click here!


Legal Resources

New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)
  • NYLAG describes itself as “a leading civil legal services organization combatting economic, racial, and social injustice by advocating for people experiencing poverty of crisis.” They have a dedicated team for LGBTQ+ issues and provided free legal services for a large variety of issues to people in need.
Justia: LGBTQ Legal Resource Center
  • This LGBTQ+ Resource Center provides information and resources to support LGBTQ+ individuals across a wide variety of legal areas. An overview of legal topics related to the LGBTQ+ community provides a wealth of historical information, and separate links are provided for information about family law and divorce, employment issues, youth issues, and trans issues, among others. The “Frequently Asked Questions” and “Popular Topics” dropdown menus provide substantial legal information for the LGBTQ+ community, and the website includes contact information for a variety of lawyers.
Lambda Legal
  • “Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.” They “do not charge our clients for legal representation or advocacy, and [they] receive no government funding.” Lambda Legal engages in impactful legislation, educational initiatives, and public policy advocacy. Please click here for additional background and contact information.

LGBTQ+: Job Market and School

Human Rights Campaign Scholarship Database
  • The Human Rights Campaign provides a comprehensive “list of scholarships, fellowships, and grants for LGBTQ+ and allied students at both the undergraduate and graduate-level”. You can search the scholarship database to see if there is an opportunity for you!
Best Colleges Scholarships for LGBTQ+ Students
  • This resource contains a scholarship database for General LGBTQ+ Scholarships, Discipline-specific LGBTQ+ Scholarships, and Demographic-based LGBTQ+ Scholarships. Please click on the link above to learn more and apply for these scholarships today!
Job Market Resources 
SUNY Potsdam Career Services
  • Career Services within the Lougheed Center for Applied Learning at SUNY Potsdam, is committed to supporting LGBTQIA+ students and alumni along their career trajectory. We aim to ensure our office is a safe and welcoming space where we celebrate every individual’s uniqueness. We strive to equip our students with appropriate resources to provide access to workshops and events, career education materials, and diverse internship and employment opportunities. Below, you will find a collection of resources geared to empower our LGBTIA+ students along their career path. Our team encourages individuals to reach out to our office to receive individualized support, which can be schedule using our Handshake system. Career Services is here for you!
  • Coming Out at Work:  Human Rights Campaign resource on coming out in the workplace.
  • Gender Neutral Guide: What to Wear for an Interview
  • Human Rights Campaign-State Equality Index: A comprehensive state-by-state report that includes a review of statewide laws and policies that impact LGBTQ individuals. Includes a state-by-state map that shows where protection laws are in place.
  • LGBTConnect: LGBT job board and list of employers, and career advice resources.
  • National Association of Colleges & Employers -LGBT Resources: A collection of resources to support LGBTQ students, job candidates, and employees
  • Out and Equal: Organization providing exclusive support on LGBTQ workplace equality. Support includes programs, workshops, networking events, and more.
  • Out for Work: Offers resources, programs, and services for LGBT students to enhance career readiness.
  • Out Professionals: LBGTQ networking opportunities.
  • Pride at Work: Organized support between the LGBTQ community and the labor movement. Represents union members and allies.
  • ProGayJobs: Offers a job board and resources for GLBT to find employers committed to diversity.
  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: EEOC guide for the protection for LGBTQ workers
  • Vault: A resource provided by Career Services that includes industry-related articles, a job board, guidebooks, and career advice resources. A series of diversity & inclusion resources are available here, or by simply using the search bar. Be sure to login using your Potsdam email.

If you need individualized support, our Career Services team will be happy to assist you. To book an appointment, please visit Handshake. For additional resource be visit our webpage.

Searching for a job can be tough, and doing so as a member of the LGBTQ+ community can come with added challenges. The first resource below provides an extensive list of “Best companies for LGBTQ workers” from Monster, and the second resource provides a series of links for companies that “champion LGBTQ+ equality,” complete with employee reviews!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What do I do if I am a member of the LGBTQ+ community and I am contemplating suicide? What if it is a friend of mine?
    • If you are in crisis, please call Reachout (315-265-2442) or University Police (315-267-2222). If you are not in Potsdam, please contact your local crisis center or emergency room.
    • Below are some additional options for crisis support:
      • The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386
      • Crisis Text Line: TEXT HOME to 741741
      • Tribal support:
      • Suicide hotlines:
        • 1-800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433)
        • 1-800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)
    • For more information about suicide prevention, please click on "Suicide Prevention" above.
  • I have experienced discrimination at SUNY Potsdam or in the wider Potsdam community because I am a member of the LGBTQ+ community. What do I do?
    • If you are in immediate danger, please call University Police (315-267-2222).
    • If you with to complete a Bias Incident Reporting Form, please click here.
  • I would like to know more about the LGBTQ+ community. What resources are available and whom do I contact?
    • You can click here for information about the training and workshops we provide!
  • As a member of the LGBTQ+ community I am nervous about entering the job market after graduation. What should I do?
    • We are here to help! Please visit the “LGBTQ+: Job Market and School,” in the section above, for information about LGBTQ+ Job Market Resources.
  • I am trans and I want to look into my healthcare options. Where should I go?
    • For more information about Trans resources, including healthcare options, please visit our “Trans Resources at SUNY Potsdam” section on this webpage above.
  • I am looking for LGBTQ+ friendly community resources. Can you help?
    • Absolutely! For information pertaining to on-campus resources for the LGBTQ+ community, please click here. If you’re looking for organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community beyond our campus, and/or national organizations for LGBTQ+ individuals, please visit the “LGBTQ+ Organizations” section above.
  • I want to be more active in the SUNY Potsdam LGBTQ+ community. How can I get involved?
    • The Gender and Sexuality Coordinators have teamed up with the Counseling Center in order to build an LGBTQ+ support group, and you can find more information about that group by clicking here! In addition, the GSA offers “a fun, secure support group and a chance for students to be involved in our local community as well as the broader queer world.” You can find out more by clicking here! If you would like to discuss more ways to get involved, please contact the Gender and Sexuality Coordinators for additional information!
  • I want to schedule a training or presentation on LGBTQ+ issues. Whom do I contact?
    • To explore the training and workshop options we can provide, please click here!
  • I am a member of the LGBTQ+ community and I am looking for a safe space to talk to other community members. Where can I go?
    • The Gender and Sexuality Coordinators have teamed up with the Counseling Center to offer an LGBTQ+ support group, designed to provide members of the LGBTQ+ community with a safe space to be heard and helped. You can find more information about that group by clicking here!