History in Tompkins County
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."
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.
Gender and Sexuality Volunteer Opportunities
PFLAG Ithaca Cortland was established in 1986 as a group affiliated with PFLAG National. PFLAG are committed to:
- Support - to cope with an adverse society;
- Education - To enlighten an ill-informed public;
- Advocacy - To end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights.
"The Crisis Pregnancy Centers of the Finger Lakes is a local, non-profit organization that helps women and couples facing unplanned pregnancies find solutions they can live with. Our goal is to treat each client with love and compassion, and to be a safe-haven of hope, comfort and assistance."
"The Women's Opportunity Center is leading low income women to the pathway out of poverty by providing them individualized career counseling, training and removing barriers to become job ready and find employment.
"The Community Foundation’s Children and Youth Field of Interest Fund was created to promote the healthy development of children and youth in ways that complement existing services."
Ithaca College hosts most of its information about sexual assault response and programs on it’s website called Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education (SHARE).
“The Center for LGBT Education, Outreach, and Services actively fosters the academic success and personal growth of LGBT students, and it offers college-wide services to enhance the campus community's understanding and appreciation of LGBT people and themes.”
IC Feminists United is an independent group devoted to social, political, and economic equality for all people.
The Tompkins County Office of Human Rights (OHR) is a department of the County charged with providing civil rights enforcement and outreach programming. They handle complaints of discrimination in housing, employment, lending, public accommodation, and education.
There are various programs developed by the Centers for Disease Control with the mission to reduce sexual assault.