Ohio University

About the LGBT Center

At the LGBT Center, ALL are welcome truly means ALL are welcome...we serve LGBT people, non-LGBT people, and everyone in-between and beyond!

We are so queertastically glad you are visiting our website and hope that you find information here that is helpful to you as well as your friends, families, communities, and networks of solidarity. Ohio University and Athens have built a strong rainbow foundation for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities; we are the first LGBT Center in the state of Ohio and have been in a pioneer in LGBT inclusive policies and practices such as Gender Neutral Housing, Name/Pronoun Policy, and Trans Healthcare Benefits. That said, we still have a lot of work in creating a community environment (on and off campus) that is truly safe and celebratory of people of all genders, orientations, and expressions of identity. As a center, we hope that people come to understand and believe that when we say "all are welcome" we truly mean "ALL are welcome"...people of all orientations, genders, and identities.

The resources throughout our website are a starting point for delving into the complex and fascinating world of gender and sexual diversities. Our website is not an exhaustive resource but we hope that it provides a starting place for answering questions and answering questions sparked from your initial questions--its an evolving, ongoing journey of deconstructing and reconstructing perspectives of how we individually and collectively live into sexuality and gender. Because it seems that every day we discover a new aspect or way of understanding sexuality and gender, we are always looking for new resources to help people on their personal and professional journeys. If you would like to suggest adding something to our website you think would be great to share with others, please email us at lgbt@ohio.edu (we also welcome suggestions for our center book and film libraries).

As the center continues to grow and evolve to meet the changing needs of the university and of our geographic location, we invite you to be part of the effort to create spaces where folks across the spectrums of sexuality, gender, and coming out feel affirmed in whatever ways needed. Whether you need suggestions of places to eat, resources to help your roommate who just came out, a quiet study space, a place to engage in thought-provoking and action-inspiring conversation, multiple opportunities to color unicorns, or want to help with awareness raising programming within Ohio University and Southeastern Ohio, the LGBT Center is the place for you and is here for you.


The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center advances the diversity mission of Ohio University by creating a university environment and community inclusive and supportive of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, and queerness. We focus on the unique academic, cultural, and social needs of LGBT students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the wider community. As an academic support unit, we strive to enhance students' learning and engagement as well as increase the retention of LGBT students. Our broader influence emerges from providing resources, educational opportunities, social gatherings, and LGBTQ justice initiatives to ALL students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members at Ohio University and beyond.


The LGBT Center is a safe space on campus to seek confidential assistance and support. Dealing with discrimination, harassment, coming out concerns and relationship issues are just some of the areas where the Center can provide support and advocacy. We strive to continually improve the quality of life for LGBT people on campus, in Athens, and in Southeastern Ohio.


The LGBT Center works to provide support to all members of the university community. While much of our focus is on LGBT identities, inclusive of those in the closet, out of the closet and somewhere in between--we also know that our straight allies and other non-LGBT people need support and attention too.


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, chutzpah, and resilience of students. The LGBT Center is celebrating 16 years as an official part of the university…here’s to another 16 years!

  • 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 began meeting at United Campus Ministry; 4 decades later the group continues to meet at United Campus Ministry under the new name of Open Doors.
  • 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 Jenny Hall-Jones (now Dean of Students)
    • In Spring 2000, Mickey Hart became the third person responsible for the LGBT Center.
    • Fall 2003, the LGBT Center became 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 came on board as the new director.

  • 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 (Alumni Society for LGBTQA alums)

  • 2015 ~ Ohio University implements university-wide policy: Preferred Names and Pronouns (https://www.ohio.edu/policy/12-021.html)



Ohio University was selected as one of the 100 Best LGBT Friendly Colleges and Universities by The Advocates’ College Guide for LGBT Students (last published in 2006). Ohio University’s selection was based on its positive environment, programs and services, and LGBT student coalitions.