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LGBTQ+ resources and support available to UMN students beyond Pride Month

The Gender and Sexuality Center provides support for LGBTQ+ students and the greater Twin Cities community.
There+are+resources+for+LGBTQ%2B+students+provided+by+the+University+year-round.
Graphic by Ava Weinreis
There are resources for LGBTQ+ students provided by the University year-round.

Even though Pride Month is over, resources for LGBTQ+ students at the University of Minnesota are available year-round. Students have access to educational resources, gender-affirming care and opportunities to build community.

One of the places LGBTQ+ students can find these resources is the Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life (GSC).

Mycall Akeem Riley, the director of GSC, said the mission of the center is to make open and safe spaces, as well as resources, available to LGBTQ+ students and faculty and the larger Twin Cities community. 

“I know that college spaces are a time where people can begin to really interrogate, think about their own identities,” Riley said. 

The work of GSC is vast, according to Riley, and has a “limitless number of avenues.” They work with students, faculty and administrators across the University. One of the many ways GSC works across the University is its partnership with Boynton Health, Riley said. 

“Every semester, we kick off the semester with a collaboration with Boynton Health,” Riley said. “This year, we are providing folks with monkey-pox shots, as well as COVID boosters.”

In addition, GSC can provide students with binders, packers and other gender-affirming care, Riley said. They also facilitate ways for students to get involved with fellow LGBTQ+ students on campus and in their community.

“We have spaces and community groups that uplift marginalized communities within the LGBTQIA+ community,” Riley said.

GSC also has a dedicated lounge space in the basement of Appleby Hall open to students throughout the semester, as well as a small food pantry open to the public. Riley said it is important to have spaces dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ students in ways more than simply providing space.

“As we have reimagined how cultural centers exist nowadays, especially after and while in the pandemic, I think folks are looking for a lot of hands-on support,” Riley said.

GSC also works with Housing and Residential Life (HRL) to support the Lavender House, the LGBTQ+ Living Learning Community (LLC) on campus, Kristie Feist, Assistant Director for Academic Initiatives and Student Engagement for HRL, said in an email to the Minnesota Daily.

“Lavender House provides a community living space where students can explore their identity while learning about resources and support networks available on campus,” Feist said. 

Lavender House, located in Comstock Hall, was first offered as an LLC in 2007, according to Feist. Since then, the LLC has grown.

“We have had as many as 70 students, but this year we expect over 100 students assigned to the Lavender House and expanded the LLC capacity to accommodate the increased interest,” Feist said.

Along with GSC and Lavender House, there are queer student groups, such as the Queer Student Cultural Center, as well as courses and a minor in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender studies available to students.

“We work to build and bridge communities that welcome and affirm people to be their whole selves, honoring their multiple identities and lived experiences,” Andria Waclawski, assistant director of public relations for the University, said in an email to the Daily.

More information about resources for LGBTQ+ students can be found on the UMN Pride website page.

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