Dez Kraynak

Dez Kraynak’s (he/him) embarked on his transitioning journey in Chicago before moving to New York City. It was here that he found his way to Callen-Lorde through friends in the queer community, eager to continue his hormone replacement therapy without interruption at an LGBTQ+ affirming healthcare center.

Throughout his time at Callen-Lorde, Dez availed himself of a plethora of services, from primary care and therapy to assistance with health insurance, surgeries, and legal services. “The number of resources at Callen-Lorde exceeded my expectations,” he remarked, reflecting on the comprehensive support he received at the clinic as he navigated the complexities of transitioning. “It’s really great to have all of these services integrated into my care at Callen-Lorde. Everyone from my physicians to staff working at the pharmacy, I feel like they’re all advocating for me.”

But Dez’s story didn’t stop there. Inspired by his own experiences, he embarked on a new path, one of service and advocacy. “I decided to pursue a career in medicine,” he explained, recounting his journey of switching career paths from music composition and the arts to healthcare. Currently attending CUNY Brooklyn College, Dez is laying the groundwork for his future as a healthcare professional. His involvement with Callen-Lorde’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) and harm reduction work allows him to give back to the community that had supported him. Speaking passionately about the systemic barriers that hindered equitable access to care and the urgent need for change, Dez believes that achieving equity in healthcare for the queer and trans community comes down to two things – free access to affirming healthcare and greater representation of LGBTQ+ individuals in the medical field.

In sharing his story and aspirations, Dez offers a message of hope and empowerment to his younger self and the younger generation. Starting his own transitioning journey only a few years ago, Dez reflects that the current political climate and the rise in anti-trans laws across the country can make the transitioning process scary to navigate. “I want to let people know that even though it may seem hopeless, there are folks out there that will support and guide you – you don’t have to do it by yourself,” he assured casting a light on the path ahead.

Dez found a home at Callen-Lorde—a place where he could be his truest self and inspire others to do the same. His story shines a light on the transformative power of love and acceptance and embodies the spirit of community and collective action that defines the Callen-Lorde community.