Being Transgender in Lubbock

By Hope Lenamon

Cameron Crumbley and Jody Randall sit next to each other in a small office tucked away in the Center for Campus Life at Texas Tech University.

To anyone passing by, these two people appear polar opposites. Crumbley is a dark-eyed, brown-haired, college-aged guy, Randall, a light-eyed, blonde, middle-aged woman. However, one aspect of their life knits them together as part of a community.

Crumbley and Randall both identify as transgender. According to GLADD, transgender is a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the biological sex they were assigned at birth.

Crumbley, originally from Frisco, Texas and now a student at Texas Tech, said he first realized he was transgender as a senior in high school. He said coming to Texas Tech, he got involved with the Gay Straight Alliance, met other transgender people and found his crowd.

Photo of Crumbley from Facebook.

“When I came to college, I thought, ‘Okay, this is your chance to start over,” Crumbley said. “I’m Cameron. I’m he. I’m a guy.’”

Crumbley said he has now been receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for six months. According to the advocacy and clothing company Revel & Riot, HRT for masculine transitioning individuals increases testosterone levels while lowering estrogen levels into a typical “male” range.

Crumbley said he gets his hormones from the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. He said he always makes sure to be in Lubbock when it comes time for his next round of hormones, because the center has all of his information.

Crumbley said he feels he is passing, or being correctly perceived as the gender he identifies with, more and more as time goes on, but he still experiences struggles and discrimination regarding his transition.

One issue he said he dealt with recently was the proposal of Senate Bill 6, which would have required him to use the restroom that matched the gender of his birth certificate. He said it is not so much of an issue since the bill failed, but using the restroom can still be a source of anxiety.

Crumbley said he sometimes does feel confident when using the men’s restroom. However, he said he would like to see more gender-neutral restrooms across Texas Tech’s campus to make going to the restroom a less stressful time for all transgender and non-binary students.

“I get that there’s gender-neutral restrooms in like dorms and stuff, but in a major building like this, there’s not,” Crumbley said. “You have to make a choice, and you’re like, ‘Hmm. Which one am I not going to get beat up in today?’”

Randall, administrator at the Office of LGBTQIA at Texas Tech, said she knew her gender identity was different from others at a young age. She recalled being drawn to the cartoon He-Man, not for the leading male character, but for his sister She-Ra.

From the TTU Office of LGBTQIA website.

However, Randall said she did not transition until later in life because she feared it would hinder her career. She also said she wanted to be married and own a house before she began to transition.

“I just wanted to be established before I came out to the world,” she said.

Since moving to Lubbock and being selected for her position with the Office of LGBTQIA, Randall said her car has been vandalized, and she has had encounters that border on stalking, causing her to involve law enforcement.

More often though, she said she faces discrimination in the forms of micro-aggressions.

“Those kinds of hate-based physical violence most certainly happen, but a lot of what I experience in Lubbock are the subtle jabs,” she said.

Randall said the inclusion the LGBTQIA community receives on campus can vary greatly from that of the greater Lubbock community and West Texas. She said this can be jarring and alarming for those who are not prepared for this difference.

She added that the Office of LGBTQIA has helped the campus to become more inclusive through education and outreach. She said the office has helped move the campus from a two to a four-star on the Campus Pride Index in less than a year.

Additionally, she said the office helped facilitate the Texas Tech Athletic Department’s adherence to the NCAA Trans Guidance, which provides college athletic programs guidance in how to ensure the equal treatment of transgender student-athletes.

Randall said in Lubbock and the greater Texas area, medical and mental health services available to the transgender community are limited. She said Texas Tech is fortunate to have the Health Sciences Center and its physicians who are willing to work with transgender individuals.

But, she said this still makes up a small percentage of healthcare providers in Lubbock willing to see trans people for purposes related to their transition.

According to the Office of LGBTQIA’s Local Resources for Transgender Individuals list, only five doctors in Lubbock provide transition hormones to transgender patients. Of these five, none are endocrinologists, doctors certified in hormone replacement.

From the TTU Office of LGBTQIA website.

Randall said doctors in Lubbock who do provide HRT to transgender patients are often family practitioners who have sought out professional development on their own to meet a growing need.

She said she does not want the advocacy and progress towards better inclusion for the transgender community to slow down or stop just because some progress has been made.

“I wish more people beyond the inner circle would become a part of the conversation,” Randall said. “You can only talk to the same human right and LGBTQ advocates over and over. They’ve got it.”

Both Crumbley and Randall said that above all, those questioning their gender identity or wanting to start transitioning should do what feels right for them.

“Do the research on it, make sure this is something you want to do, and then go for it,” Crumbley said. “Don’t let anything stop you. It does get better.”

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