UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | May 21, 2024

New LGBTQ+ Resource Center provides support, acceptance to DSU community

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Behind a rainbow-striped flag and a glass window holds a place some students can now call home.

LGBTQ students, staff and faculty now have a new resource center, thanks to a discussion and meeting that took place a little over a year ago, said Christina Duncan, assistant director of the multicultural and inclusion center and presidential fellow for inclusion and equity.

Duncan said members of the Gay Straight Alliance sat down with President Biff Williams and administrators on campus to discuss opening up an LGBTQ+ Resource Center as part of Williams’ strategic plan to create more diversity on campus.

“It really is a space for everyone to come and feel comfortable,” Duncan said. 

The center offers different events for the LGBTQ community or to anyone who has questions, like a book club, guest speakers and fundraising activities, Duncan said. 

The LGBTQ+ Resource Center works heavily with the DSU Student Association and the MIC, Duncan said.

Barrett Beck, LGBT community specialist and GSA adviser, said the LGBTQ+ Resource Center is a part of the MIC instead of being completely on its own.

“I think working together is the best situation,” Beck said. “Particularly because one in three people who identify as LGBT also identify as [a person of color].” 

Zsajade Ervin, a junior English education major from Los Angeles and an intern for the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, said working with the MIC has been beneficial for her, and she feels accepted by DSU because of this new center.

“It’s nice because I fall into both categories,” Ervin said. “I’m pansexual, and I’m a person of color.” 

With the new center, LGBTQ students and faculty can feel acceptance and gain more visibility, Beck said. Even if students are not out and identify as LGBTQ, the center and its staff can be a place to turn.

Campus and round table discussions on issues the LGBTQ community faces will be offered once a month to all of the St. George community, Beck said. Safe zone trainings will also be offered to help the community be more understanding and will offer educational opportunities to people who don’t know a whole lot about the LGBTQ community. 

“Sometimes well-meaning people can say nasty things, so that training is important so that they can be supportive,” Beck said. “It greatly increases the visibility of the LGBTQ population so people can feel like, you know, you’re part of the university. Like, you’re not hidden away in a corner and tolerated, you’re actually welcomed.”

A fundraiser luncheon, in conjunction with DOCUTAH, will be held Sept. 10 in the Zion room in the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons at noon, and all proceeds will go to the LGBTQ+ Resource Center.

Students who identity as LGBTQ or anyone who has questions can visit the LGBTQ+ Resource Center in room 211 of the Browning Learning Resource Center. Students can also visit lgbt.dixie.edu.

“Even if you’re not ready to come out just yet, you can still come by to talk to anybody who is here,” Ervin said. “No one is going to shut you down and be like, ‘no, go away.’ It’s a very open place here.”