LGBT Center to re-open in new, upgraded space, welcome new assistant director

Published: February 1, 2022 Author: Staff reports

Following a start-of-semester closure of its physical space in support of pandemic safety, Ohio University’s LGBT Center is excited to share it will be re-opening to in-person visitors on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, with a new assistant director and an upgraded location within Baker University Center.

The Center’s new home, located in Baker Center Suite 348, is just a few doors down from the space that housed the Center from 2007 -2021. The relocation constitutes a significant milestone in the Center’s history as the third and largest location the Center has occupied since its original establishment in what is now Ohio University’s Schoonover Center for Communication, back in 1998.

Sarah Doherty, the second person to hold the title of LGBT Center assistant director, joined the Ohio University community from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., on Jan. 10, 2022. Doherty brings with her more than 20 years of LGBTQ+, disability, and fat justice advocacy experience and she most recently ran the LGBTQ+ Resource Center at Ferris University.

"I am excited to join in the LGBT Center and to contribute to the work of the Division of Diversity and Inclusion at Ohio University. The groundwork laid by the staff and students is incredibly inspiring,” Doherty said. “I hope to bring my experience with mutual aid and advocacy in social justice movements to conversations and programming in the Ohio University and the greater communities the University serves."

Early in Spring Semester 2019, University administrators in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion and Office of University Planning worked with students to explore options for relocating the LGBT Center to a space large enough to accommodate its increased popularity. COVID-19 halted this and many other relocation projects, but the priorities identified through formal listening sessions focused on increasing space, remaining in Baker University Center, and maintaining proximity to one of Baker’s two single user restrooms. The Center’s new location offers all this and more as it has transitioned from a space with a reception area, attached lounge area, and one office, to a space with numerous rooms and sources of natural light.

“I could not be happier about how this new space will help our professional, graduate, and undergraduate staff members offer consultation and promote wellbeing,” LGBT Center Director Micah McCarey said. “We are here for everyone who supports our mission, regardless of sexual or romantic attraction, gender identity, or connection to Ohio University.”

The LGBT Center’s new space features a reception area where visitors can connect with staff, enjoy community artwork, and browse resources any time the Center is open Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Beyond reception is a lending area that features an LGBTQ+ lending library and a free clothing exchange program hosted by Ohio University’s T.R.A.N.S. student organization (Team of Really Awesome Non-Cisgender Students). Beyond the lending area is the Center’s Quiet Room for visitors seeking a low sensory stimulation space for such activities as studying and meditation. The space also has two staff offices, two activity rooms and the Center’s staff are excited to make the most of all the opportunities that come with the new space.

Visitors can expect a warm environment where they can engage in both light-hearted interaction that builds community and in brave conversations that facilitate learning. For those unable to visit in person, the LGBTQ+ student organization Spectrum Plus maintains a virtual community on the platform Discord, and the Center offers a virtual support group for Significant Others, Friends, Family, and Allies of LGBTQ+ people (SOFFA). Faculty and staff, who are also encouraged to visit, can look for the LGBT Center to partner with the University’s Out OHIO LGBTQ+ Affinity Group for Spring 2022 virtual mixers and events.

Interested persons can get help connecting with LGBTQ-focused resources, programs, and student organizations by calling the LGBT Center at 740.593.0239, emailing lgbt@ohio.edu, or visiting the LGBT Center webpage.