Though we have been working remotely over the last year, we have still been providing vital educational and direct support programs to the Carolina community. Your support will enable us to continue conducting educational presentations and offering direct support to students, faculty, and staff at Carolina.
What We Do
Connecting to Support and Resources
The LGBTQ Center itself is housed in a small office suite with a common area where campus and community members can relax, study, and chat with friends. We keep easily accessible snacks and personal items for convenience and to support housing and food insecure members of our community, especially those who fear being discriminated against for their gender expression at shelters and food pantries. We maintain a curated collection of resources from around campus and the Triangle, connecting visitors to local resources including affirming substance use recovery, health care resources, discussion groups, clubs, and organizations.
Building Community and Resilience
Undergraduate students gather at the Center or online via Zoom for monthly socials and Pride and Awareness events, where they play board games, watch movies, or make crafts while forming and strengthening friendships that become part of their care networks and connect them to opportunities around campus. Students also use the Center to hold club and organization meetings, and to host social events celebrating pride and visibility days.
Graduate and Professional students meet up at a local restaurant or on Zoom a few times each month to reconnect, visit with and meet friends outside of their programs, and share strategies for managing their workload while often isolated as one of very few LGBTIQA+ students in their cohorts. This time to decompress and relate to people with similar lived experiences is vital to success in post-graduate education and often helps inform participants' research and knowledge of the resources available to them.
Once per month, we invite LGBTIQA+ faculty and staff to connect with one another across departments, disciplines, and affiliations. We provide a space to talk about how policies are impacting their lives and work, get to know one another, and form relationships that sustain the work they do to improve the lives of North Carolinians on and off-campus.
Fostering Affirming Self-Discovery
The Center is home to a lending library of over 1,000 holdings. Most of our holdings are donated books including LGBTIQA+ focused research, history, novels, poetry, advice, and more. Our library offers a place where students who aren't yet comfortable exploring these topics can browse in relative privacy and know that anyone around to notice what they check out is not passing judgement. Some students come to us because a book was assigned by their instructor, and the main library has run out of copies. Once here, they meet professional staff and student workers who are eager to help them find what they need and often end up perusing the rest of our collection for leisure reading. Faculty and staff check out books to inform their affirming classroom practices, assist with supporting students, and for personal enjoyment.
Educating a More Inclusive Campus
Safe Zone Allyship training is our most popular program with nearly 1200 trainees in the 2019-2020 academic year. This program allows anyone on campus and in nearby communities to learn fundamental terminology, concepts, and strategies to affirm people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. We offer four-hour foundational training - one that is suitable for anyone and another geared towards Health Care providers but open to all. The curriculum for Safe Zone is continually growing and changing as terminology and conceptualization of certain identities have evolved, and with input from trainees who hold some of the marginalized identities, we are seeking to help others understand. We have added continuing education sessions on specific identities and communities to deepen trainees' understanding of these communities and more effectively advocate for equitable campus policies and practices within their spheres of influence.
How We Do It
Our professional staff members are tasked with serving the campus community at a ratio of 11,299 to 1, not including requests from local community members and organizations. Student volunteers who serve as LGBTQ Center Ambassadors or QGAPS Advisory Board members help to plan and deliver community-building and educational programs such as Book Club, QGAPS Socials, and LGBTQIA+ Speaker Series. Staff members who volunteer their time to go through Safe Zone Facilitator training and mentorship help us provide training to larger groups and on a more flexible schedule. Faculty, staff, and researchers answer our calls to provide engaging content at LGBTIQA+ Speaker Series and Queer MiniCon. A new selection of students, faculty, and staff come together each year to deliberate on the winners of our LGBTIQA+ Advocacy Awards, which are announced at Lavender Graduation.
Allied Campus Partners
Our largest events: Queer FallFest, Queer MiniCon, National Coming Out Week, Pride Week, and Lavender Graduation are collaborations with student organizations and other campus departments whose missions align with ours. We partner to ensure that students, faculty, and staff members of all orientations, genders, and expressions know that there are programs and resources to support their identity development and paths towards allyship.
Our programming budget comes from private donations. The work of the LGBTQ Center to create a safe and inclusive campus environment would not be possible without your generosity and support. Contributions of time, knowledge, money, and resources allow us to continue our efforts to ensure that all people at UNC-Chapel Hill are treated equitably.
- Give to help us continue connecting our community to needed resources.
- Give so that LGBTIQA+ students, faculty, and staff have opportunities to gather and build strong, sustaining connections.
- Give to help us cultivate an up-to-date library where LGBTIQA+ campus members of all races, ethnicities, abilities, and interests can find themselves reflected.
- Give to help us continue developing a network of informed campus and community members of all identities with the tools to disrupt heteronormativity and cissexism.