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History in Tompkins County

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Tompkins County has a long and rich history of advocacy surrounding gender and sexuality. The Advocacy Center, which today works to support survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse, was created in 1977 in Ithaca and functions today as an educational and service-based organization. Planned Parenthood of Tompkins County opened its office in 1968 at what is today the Ithaca Presbyterian Church and now has merged with other chapters to create Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes. PPSFL provides abortion services, hormone therapy for transgender individuals, HIV and STD testing, and pregnancy testing and resources among other sources. Ithaca also has one of the longest-running Take Back the Night marches in the country, which is a public show of support for women’s rights.

Ithaca is also a popular location for LGBT individuals and families. Ithaca College is consistently ranked in the top 50 LGBT-friendly colleges and universities by Campus Pride.  A court case that set a precedent for the later federal legalization of marriage in 2015 occurred in Ithaca in 2004. The Ithaca 50 "occurred in Ithaca, New York, over a decade ago, when twenty-five gay couples sued the City of Ithaca for the right to be married by the town. According to Donna Eschenbrenner, the archivist of The History Center in Tompkins County, the case became known as the Ithaca 50 lawsuit because of the number of couples involved."

Current Status  

Ithaca has an extraordinary amount of resources surrounding reproductive freedom, family planning domestic violence, sexual assault, parenting, and gender and sexuality. However, Many students do not know how to connect with these resources when they need them, and also don’t know how to connect with them to provide volunteer service. Better connections to these resources need to be developed. Additionally, students passionate about feminist and LGBT causes need to determine the difference between what they think will help, and what these organizations actually need.

Image by  @kaybeevaughn

Image by @kaybeevaughn


Gender and Sexuality Volunteer Opportunities

Community Organizations

Student Organizations

Local Government

Student Employment / Internships