LGBTQ Center Description
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Center mission is to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for UNC-Chapel Hill community members of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions. We accomplish this mission through three primary programmatic and service strategies: Education, Direct Support and Advocacy, and Social and Cultural Events.
The Center provides educational programs to the University campus and surrounding communities. This includes programs such as Safe Zone, a program designed to create a network of visible allies who are knowledgeable about the impacts of heterosexism, strategies to disrupt heterosexism, and resources for people on topics related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. In addition to Safe Zone, the Center provides tailored trainings for university departments, classrooms, student organizations, and community partners. Examples of topics include intentional inclusion of LGBTIQA+ communities in K-12 educational settings, university settings, mental health settings, health care settings, legal issues, and youth development.
The Center sponsors and co-sponsors speakers, film presentations, educational events, and other performances designed to raise awareness and educate the campus and community about LGBTIQA+ topics. Sometimes these events are targeted to LGBTIQA+ identified people specifically (e.g., the Healthy Relationships programs) and sometimes these events are designed to address topics relevant to people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions (e.g., a speaker who addresses the simultaneous and intersecting impacts of racism, disability, and heterosexism across various identity groups).
Direct Support and Advocacy
The Center provides direct support programs and services primarily targeted to the needs and interests of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The Center also coordinates several programs designed to address identity development, leadership development, and relationship skills development. Direct support programs include the LGBTQ Center resource library, Trans Talk Tuesday, Drop in Support Hours, and individual meetings with the Director or Assistant Director. LGBTQ Center staff also provide individual consultation to staff and faculty as well as advocate on issues of university policy.
Trans Talk Tuesday is a peer support/discussion group for people who identify as transgender or genderqueer. This space is meant to provide community and connection among folks on the basis of gender identity. The group is open to campus and community members that identify as transgender (in any respect), genderqueer, or who are questioning their gender identity or gender expression. This space is not an educational space—if a person is interested in learning more about these topics, but does not identify as part of these communities, they are referred to educational programs such as Safe Zone: Gender Identity and Gender Expression.
Drop-in Support Hours are weekly opportunities for students to have one-to-one, private conversations at the LGBTQ Center with the Gender Violence Services Coordinator. Examples of topics students may discuss include relationship or dating concerns, concerns related to experiences of sexual or interpersonal violence, and questions about support resources related to sexual or interpersonal violence. While the counselors are available to have private conversations, provide support, and provide resources drop-in support hours are not intended to be (nor should they be used as) individual therapy sessions
The Assistant Director and Director meet with people individually to discuss issues related to identity development (e.g., coming out as LGBTQ+, spirituality), relationships, family, and academics. The Director frequently meets with community professionals to provide technical consultation on working with youth around these topics.
LGBTQ Center staff work with and through committees to advocate for inclusive policies, practices, and procedures as well as for program and service designs that are inclusive of people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. The Center’s three full-time professional staff members serve on numerous Student Affairs committees as well as University wide, interdepartmental committees.
In addition to advocacy through committee participation, Center staff members also are available to support University staff, faculty, students, and alumni who are experiencing marginalization, harassment, discrimination or other negative situations due to their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Center staff can assist individuals in reporting negative experiences and or mediating discussions with individuals and/or supervisors involved in the situation. If staff members recognize patterns regarding these types of incidents they make suggests about education and training opportunities that might be useful for that department, organization, or area as well as recommendations regarding policy or procedural changes.
Social and Cultural Events
The Center hosts social and cultural events that allow LGBTIQA+ and allied communities to gather for meeting new people, mutual support, and networking throughout the school year. Some of these events include the Welcome Back Celebration, NC Pride, Transgender Day of Remembrance, Lavender Graduation, First Fridays, and Graduate Social Hour and a Half.
We start the school year with our Welcome Back Celebration, a casual social where LGBTIQA+ individuals and allies can get to know one another and learn about groups, clubs, and upcoming events!
In late September, we invite students, faculty, staff, and alumni to join us on our float for the North Carolina’s annual Pride parade.
Each November, we memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender violence through Transgender Day of Remembrance. We also take time to celebrate the resilience of transgender and gender non-conforming people.
Throughout the year, we provide information, visibility, and social events around various annually recognized dates (e.g., National Coming Out Day, Asexual Awareness Week, Transgender Day of Visibility).
Join us every First Friday of the month for snacks, fun games and socializing in the LGBTQ Center lounge. If you are a graduate or professional student, make plans also to attend the Graduate Social Hour and a Half (G-SHAH). G-SHAH is an informal biweekly meetup for graduate and professional students, their friends, family, and partners to connect and build community at rotating locations throughout Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
On the Sunday before Spring Commencement, we hold Lavender Graduation. This is a celebration in which we honor recipients of the LGBTIQA+ Advocacy Awards, graduating Sexuality Studies minors, LGBTIQA+ identified students, and their allies with a special ceremony.
These are just a few of the many programs and services offered by the LGBTQ Center. To stay up to date on the latest upcoming programs, join our LGBTQ Center listserv. You will then receive our weekly News & Notes publication that lists all of our programs as well as those we know about on campus or in the surrounding communities. You can also check out our Facebook page @UNCLGBTQCenter.