College junior Sean Collins, studying mathematics, was named Chair of the Lambda Alliance, the LGBTQ-umbrella organization, for 2017. Collins, a former track & field athlete and head of Penn Athletes and Allies Tackling Homophobia, has been a part of Lambda since his freshman year. Collins sat down with The Daily Pennsylvanian to answer a few questions about his involvement in Lambda and plans for next year.
The Daily Pennsylvanian: How long had you been involved in Lambda before you were named Chair?
Sean Collins: I was on the last board, serving for the full calendar year 2016.
DP: Were you just a Lambda member before this?
SC: Lambda is interesting in that it’s doesn’t exactly have general members like a traditional club would. I was going to meetings my freshman year up until I ran the next year, so I was involved.
DP: What made you like Lambda enough to become its Chair?
SC: Because we had the two preachers on campus and at least one article in the DP that was concerning recently, I felt like it was important for me to respond to these things. I felt like some of those things were discrediting to the entire community. After the election, I saw Penn as a spot that continues to be more accepting. I really want to be a part of that.
DP: What are your plans for the future with Lambda?
SC: One of the things we pushed for this year but didn’t get through was the inclusion of more transition-related care for trans students. We want to really keep pushing that because currently Penn’s insurance plan only covers certain transition surgeries deemed medically necessary. We want them to add some procedures that they deem more aesthetic surgeries because these are actually medically necessary for trans people to feel comfortable and safe, especially since crimes against trans people are very high.
DP: Do you think it’s a possibility that Penn could change their policy?
SC: In the past, Penn had said that Aetna, who currently provides Penn’s insurance, does not include some medically necessary procedures in their plans. So what we’re asking them to do is to start looking at what other insurance plans might offer or to possibly self-insure. It’s definitely a long-term project, but Penn seems responsive. It is definitely a possibility, even if people are just going to end up self-insuring.
DP: What is your go-to fun fact?
SC: I was born in Europe and the United States. I was born on a U.S. Army base in Europe. So it was on the continent of Europe but also officially U.S. land.
This interview has been lightly edited for style and condensed.