Ohio University

About the LGBT Center

Learning, caring, and thriving under the Rainbow! #YOUAreOHIO

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 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.

When the first American LGBT Centers opened in the early 1970s, in California and New York, their premise was as simple as it was revolutionary: that LGBTQ+ people deserved to live open, authentic, meaningful, and successful lives. And not only did they deserve to live and participate, they deserved to thrive, to shine, to excel. Today, we carry that belief forward because we know that we can succeed only when we can bring our whole authentic selves into shared educational and learning spaces. And while that sentiment is perhaps no longer revolutionary, every day we are reminded of our ongoing work across experiences of sexuality, gender identity and expression, race, class, faith, ability, culture, nationality, and other lived experience.

As one of the oldest Center of its kind in the state, our LGBT Center maintains a strong foundation for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities. For example, the Center has worked collaboratively with the University community on policies and initiatives including Gender-Inclusive Housing and Trans Health Benefits for both students and employees. Additionally, Ohio University is one of a handful of universities that offer both a preferred name and pronoun policy. The LGBT Center continuously explores and works to institutionalize strategies that support and affirm LGBTQ+ students.

Whether you’re looking for resources to support someone who came out (even and especially if that someone is you!), a quiet study space, a place to engage in thought-provoking and action-inspiring conversation, or want to help with awareness-raising efforts within our Ohio University and regional contexts, our LGBT Center is the place for you—and we are here for you!

REPORTS

HISTORY

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 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 comes on board as Interim Directors; the LGBT Centers welcomes its first Assistant Director, Dr. Jan Huebenthal.
  • 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)

RECOGNITION

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.

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