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Michigan State U. LBGT center renamed to better reflect all gender, sexual identities

The LBGT Resource Center at Michigan State University will be renamed on July 1 to “be more inclusive to the diversity of sexual and gender identities” such as asexual and agender students.

The center will be known as the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center.

Center Director Jesse Beal said in a press release (which notes subject’s preferred pronouns throughout; Beal’s are “they/them”) that the current acronym-style name “has become an outlier among Big Ten universities and Michigan’s public institutions” and is “often assumed to be an error.”

MSU President Samuel Stanley (he/him) said “The center will continue to be a critical asset to help prevent gender and sexuality bias and will be better positioned to serve our community with its new name.”

In an email to The State News, Beal and Stanley said the name change was announced on March 31 to coincide with the International Transgender Day of Visibility. TDV “celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of transgender and non-binary individuals.”

That same day, the center hosted its first (annual) “Trans Day of Visibility Student Research Symposium” which featured keynote speaker Sy Simms, a “Black, transgenderqueer advocate with a passion for seeking new ways of imagining education.” Simms’ research involves “interrogating higher education policies and practices of ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’ through queer of color critique and Black feminist theory.”

Upcoming events at the center include “Design Thinking” (April 6) which will “radically reimagine what a truly equitable and inclusive MSU community could be like for LGBTQA+ people”; the “Pride Chat: Queer IntersectionaliTEA” where graduate students discuss “development theories and how they represent, or lack thereof, a LGBTQA+ inclusive understanding of intersectionality”; and “(Re)Considering Gender” a “dive into the gender binary, transgender allyship, and socialization.”

MSU also is sponsoring a T-shirt design contest for the new Gender and Sexuality Campus Center: The winning design — which “reflects [MSU’s] commitment to LGBTQA+ communities, and BIPOC, transgender and nonbinary students in particular — will become the center’s “official” shirt.

Read the press release and State News article.

MORE: MSU apologizes for training that called transgender employees by legal names

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