Who We Are
Our LGBT Center cultivates safe and civil university and community environments that affirm diverse forms of sexuality, gender identity and expression, and queerness. Contributing to OHIO’s pathway to national leadership in inclusive excellence, we strive to be an exceptionally caring, educational, and inclusive LGBT Center. Our programming, resources, educational opportunities, and community outreach efforts focus on the unique academic, cultural, and social needs of LGBTQ+ students as well as OHIO staff, faculty, alumni, and members of the wider community. In collaboration with academic, co-curricular, and community-based partners, we support LGBTQ+learning, engagement, access, and retention. Through trainings, presentations, strategic communications, social gatherings, and other initiatives, we highlight networks of support for LGBTQ+ individuals, on and off campus. We serve and celebrate people of all genders, orientations, and expressions of identity by helping them find productive ways to navigate intersections of diverse identities, experiences, and perspectives.
There has been a vibrant and active LGBT presence at Ohio University since the 1970s. Below is a basic overview of queer events on campus. Many of these accomplishments were initiated by students and are realities because of the passion and resilience of students.
- 1972 ~ Gay & Lesbian Association (GALA) starts as a group to provide social contact for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and for people not yet certain about their emotional and sexual orientation. GALA changed its name to Open Doors in the 90s, and then became Spectrum Plus in 2020.
- 1979 ~ first workshop on counseling gay people offered at the university (Helping Someone Gay: a growth-oriented model for counseling and psychotherapy with gay people).
- 1980 ~ Sexual Orientation added to university’s Non-Discrimination Policy
- 1992 ~ Minority Affairs Commission of Student Senate renamed to “Lesbian Gay Bisexual Commission.” The T was later added and in 2013 the name changed from LGBT Commission to LGBTQA Commission (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer/Questioning, Ally). Former center director Mickey Hart served as the first commissioner.
- 1997 ~ Swarm of Dykes starts at the university as a source of lesbian and dyke visibility through action and activism by criticizing lesbophebia, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, gender roles & shifting of alternative sensualities. Swarm of Dykes later changed the name of the group to “Empowering Women of Ohio.”
- 1998 ~ The LGBT Center established as a quarter-time operation as part of the Division of Student Affairs' commitment to a just and diverse community. The quarter-time program coordinator was a full-time member of the Department of Residence Life (now Residential Housing).
- Early coordinators included: Laura Harrison and Dr. Jenny Hall-Jones (now Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students)
- In Spring 2000, Mickey Hart becomes the third person responsible for the LGBT Center.
- Fall 2003: the LGBT Center becomes a full-time operation.
- Fall 2007: the coordinator position is elevated to Director and the LGBT Center oversight was moved to the Office of the Provost as part of the Division for Diversity & Inclusion.
- Fall 2013: delfin bautista comes on board as the new Director.
- Spring 2019: Tyrone Carr and later Micah McCarey come on board as Interim Directors; the LGBT Centers welcomes its first Assistant Director, Dr. Jan Huebenthal and first full-time administrative coordinator, Becky Arnold.
- 2004 ~ Ohio University offers Domestic Partner Benefits to domestic partners and children of domestic partners, as a matter of equity and fairness.
- 2004 ~ ALLY starts as a student group for open-minded people from all backgrounds who strive for the equal treatment of all minority groups, mainly focusing on the issues of LGBT individuals
- 2004, ALLY hosts first Queer Prom (A dance open to everyone, especially for those who couldn't take the date of their choice because their school wouldn't allow it, they weren't out yet, or they just didn't have one)
- 2005/2006 ~ SHADES starts as a group dedicated to fostering connections between the multicultural Same-Gender Loving (SGL), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender students of Ohio University.
- 2007 ~ Gender Identity and Gender Expression added to the university’s Non-Discrimination Policy
- 2011 ~ Gender Neutral Housing opens in Smith House on South Green
- 2011/2012 ~ Asterisk: Athens Area Trans* Advocates starts as a group that advocates for trans* and gender variant people and concerns on and off campus.
2013 ~ First Queer Studies Conference held at the university (an effort spearheaded by Dr. Susanne Dietzel and Prof. Lance Poston)
2013 ~ Graduate Student Senate passes resolution to include healthcare services for trans* identified individuals as part of Student Health Plan.
2014 ~ LGBTQ Studies Certificate launched through Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (formerly Women’s and Gender Studies)
2014 ~ PRIDE Alumni Society forms (OHIO's alumni organization for LGBTQ+ alums)
2015 ~ Ohio University implements university-wide policy: Preferred Names and Pronouns (https://www.ohio.edu/policy/12-021.html)
2019 ~ Micah McCarey is hired as the LGBT Center’s third director
2019 ~ LGBT Center launches Progress Pledge campaign encouraging allies from across Ohio University localities to pledge their commitment to active and intersectional support for community members who are LGBTQ+
2020 ~ LGBTQ+ related student organization names and missions are updated to reflect contemporary queer support needs, including Open Doors rebranding itself as Spectrum Plus
2020 ~ LGBT Center establishes new Student Leadership Awards
2021 ~ LGBT Center staff members expand introductory LGBTQ+ 101 SafeZone content to include information on intersex, asexual, and aromatic topics
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