August 14, 2011

Central New York Center Assistant Professor Deborah Coolhart Wins Award from LGBT Resource Center at Syracuse University for Work with Transgender Population

Coolhart Wins Award Central New York Center Assistant Professor Deborah Coolhart (center) Wins Award from LGBT Resource Center at Syracuse University for Work with Transgender Population

CNYC Assistant Professor Deborah Coolhart was named 2011 Outstanding Community Member by Syracuse University’s LGBT Resource Center. The LGBT Resource Center's mission is to provide education, advocacy, support and safe communal space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and straight-allied students, staff, faculty, parents and alumni of Syracuse University.” 

Coolhart was honored for her work with the transgender population as a therapist known for assisting people in taking steps in the gender-transition process. She also acts as a community consultant, advocate and educator on issues faced by the transgender population and has presented numerous workshops and trainings for diverse audiences. Extensively published in her field, Coolhart has published several articles and a book chapter on transgender topics. She also has developed a treatment team at Syracuse University, training and supervising student-therapists in their work with trans clients at the Marriage and Family Therapy Department's free clinic. 

Coolhart explains, “My work with transgender people and their loved ones has been tremendously rewarding and is informed by my academic training as well as my personal location as a member of the LGBTQ community.  Transgender people are underserved, widely misunderstood and experience heartbreaking discrimination and mistreatment. Additionally, they often have a dependence on mental-health professionals to provide recommendations for the medical treatments they need, and often struggle to obtain sensitive care.”

This award is given annually at the center’s Rainbow Banquet. The awards were established in 2003 to recognize individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, whose personal or professional lives have positively affected the LGBT community in a significant way.

Coolhart said of the award, “As a therapist, educator and advocate for transgender people, I was grateful to be recognized with this award and am proud to be making a difference. The banquet was a diverse and joyful celebration of the LGBTQ community and the contributions of faculty, students and community members in their collective fight for social justice. I was impressed with the sense of community unity and, thanks to the speakers, entertaining performers and staff of the LGBT Resource Center, the ceremony was hope-filled, providing a look at the progress that has been made towards equal rights for LGBTQ people.”

Coolhart has been with the college since 2007 and teaches community and human services. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy from Syracuse University.

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