Gender & Sexuality Resource Center celebrates 30th anniversary


Jordan Montgomery

The Gender & Sexuality Resource Center, located in the Illini Union, is approaching its 30-year anniversary.

By Piotr Fedczuk and Lillie Salas

The Gender & Sexuality Resource Center plans its 30th anniversary of helping LGBTQIA+ students.

The GSRC organizes public events throughout the school year and is meant to bring the LGBTQIA+ community together on campus. For its 30th anniversary, the GSRC plans to host a gala in the fall.

“There’s a lot of history to celebrate,” said Alex Rosado Torres, assistant director of the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center. “A lot of change that has been undergoing not only on this campus but in the country connected to LGBTQIA+ issues, and so we’re excited to showcase that.”

He said the presence of LGBTQIA+ students have been around longer than the GSRC.

“Our history honestly extends beyond the 30 years,” Torres said. “We have been able to trace at least 50 years of LGBTQIA+ students organizing and mobilizing on this campus.”

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Today, Torres said student organizations continue to provide LGBTQIA+ students with opportunities to grow and express themselves.

“We wanna make sure that we are creating programs and opportunities on campus for our queer community as well as for everyone else,” Torres said. “We want people to learn about the queer community.”

He said social media was the best way for students to learn more about their events. There is also a calendar with the GSRC’s programming on the Student Affairs webpage.

Every first and third Monday of the month, Torres said the GSRC provides a free lunch for anyone that wants to come in and learn more about LGBTQIA+ topics.

“If there are people who want to learn more or want to ally themselves with the community, you are more than welcome to our space as well,” Torres said. “We really want to work with all of our campus community and understand that this is our mission, a shared mission.”

The Transgender Day of Visibility is crucial to this mission, said Sreelakshmi Suresh, founder and president of Forging Unity Solidarity and Equity for QTPOC, or Queer and Transgender People of Color.

“It’s really important to celebrate and to recognize how many transgender students we have here at the University, but also just around the country,” Suresh said.

According to a Gallup poll published in February, about 19.7% of Generation Z in the US identified as LGBTQIA+, compared to 11.2% of millennials and 3.3% of Generation X.

Suresh said they expect that number to grow.

“That’s why the Trans Day of Visibility is important, to show that we are here,” Suresh said. “Despite current laws, legislation and attacks to try to prevent people from seeing us, understanding us.”

The current political climate in the U.S. threatens transgender people, Suresh said.

“A lot of people are afraid to be trans,” Suresh said. “They’re afraid to be queer, they’re afraid to be themselves in whatever non-normative sense.”

LGBTQIA+ students need a safe space where they know that they are not alone, Suresh said. When these basic needs are not met, students might not feel fulfilled as people, which will lead to academic trouble.

In this situation, Suresh said students should speak up when they can, because there are people who will listen.

“The GSRC is here, and we are so willing, able and ready to make sure that (LGBTQIA+ students’) experience here is equitable and not just equal,” Suresh said.


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