On Monday, September 27, the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) officially opened, marking the physical and ideological unification of the former Centers for Women and LGBT.
One of the main priorities of the center, located on the second floor of the Frist Campus Center, is to create an extracurricular experience by tapping into the resources of the Gender and Sexuality Studies program and other departments.
“Students who learn these amazing theoretical ideas in the classroom could also engage in types of field work and projects, whether they are internships or outside study programs,” said the Deputy Dean of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion; and the new GSRC Director, Kristopher Oliveira.
“It can become something like an after-school transcript where students can say… I’m working on these things and I have a sense of organization… of social advocacy… of what it means to tackle these types of issues,” said he declared.
The launch party included free food, balloons, sweatpants and speeches from Campus Life Vice President Rochelle Calhoun, Dean of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion LaTanya Buck and Oliveira. They spoke about the legacy of the two respective centers and what their merger means for the future.
“We are called to be really mindful of the nuances of the intersections of gender and sexuality,” Oliveira said in an interview with the Daily Princetonian. “In this new structure, we are really able to pay attention to the experiences of trans women of color, the more contemporary issues that women and women and queer and trans people face.
Manar Talab ’23 hailed the move, saying the merger allows queer and trans students to use the affinity space “without revealing themselves.”
“It’s so global; everyone can feel comfortable even if they are not completely comfortable with their identity, ”said Talab.
But some students have expressed concern that the union of the two centers may reduce some voices.
“It used to be the Women’s Center and now it’s the genre,” Ian Fridman ’25 said. “This could take precedence over our need to create spaces specifically for women. “
The center plans to continue to host peer-led affinity groups and mentoring programs, such as “Q’necctions” and Gender Group – a program that Jaelin Haynes ’23 has said is particularly enthusiastic about.
“Meeting more women on campus who are also looking for community is a really good thing to have,” she said.
Beyond the programming, many students talked about going out or studying in the space, which has comfy sofas, a TV, and multi-colored murals. Some, like Rodolfo Pineda ’25, have expressed their enthusiasm for socializing there.
“We’re still acclimating like 25 years old, so it’s a really good environment to do just that – meet people and then make that connection,” he said.
Fridman agreed, noting that the space allows students to bond around shared experiences and embrace their identities.
“A lot of people in the center have identities that maybe aren’t as privileged and it’s likely that a lot of us, of us, have gone through a lot of things that were not very pleasant growing up, having to dealing with shame, internalized trauma, transphobia, homophobia, sexism in the world, ”he said.“ I think it is very important for us to be able to create a welcoming environment for everyone and to spread kindness in a world that didn’t do it for us. ”
The center’s opening comes amid a call from the Princeton Pride Alliance (PPA) to allocate more resources to the mental health and well-being of trans, queer and female students. In an editorial in The Prince, the PPA called for more funding for therapists, staff and various accommodations that will help serve these students.
Oliveira wrote an op-ed in response, but did not respond directly to PPA’s requests.
Asked about PPA’s appeals in an interview with the “Prince,” Oliveira said he always assesses the needs of the community, the feasibility of projects and the strength of ongoing initiatives. He has yet to communicate with senior administrators regarding the requests.
“At the moment, my responsibility is to make sense of the space between what the students have requested and the initiatives already present on campus to understand what this gap really is,” said Oliveira.
Izzy Jacobson is a news and reporting contributor for The “Prince”. She can be reached at [email protected] and @izzyjacobsonn on Instagram.