James Fagan, Staff Photographer
The Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity first opened its doors on September 1, 2000. The CSGD’s seeks to promote equality, knowledge, and acceptance for the LGBTQA+ community for students, staff, and faculty on the USM campuses. The Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity hosts events to promote acceptance and knowledge throughout our community.
The CSDG only has a location in the Woodbury Campus Center on the Portland campus. This can be problematic for some students, as the Portland campus is mainly for commuters, so not all students who need to utilize the services provided by the Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity always have the ability to do so. Several students are of the belief that the CSGD should have a location that is open on the Gorham campus, as they have no classes or reason to be on the Portland campus, so they can’t visit the CSGD. “I’ve never been on the Portland campus, and couldn’t always take the bus ride into Portland if I needed to,” said Michael LaForte, a Freshman majoring in geography and anthropology who lives on the Gorham campus.
If we were to make a Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity location on the Gorham campus, how could we make it accessible to everyone? Olivia Klotz, a Freshman majoring in engineering stated, “Anyone should be able to come into the Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity, even if they are straight or cis-gendered and are an ally and want to talk.” The CSGD encourages people of all sexualities and gender identities to participate in events and talks to help further acceptance, including allies, so a CSGD location on the gorham campus could also help allies further their ability to be an advocate for a cause they might not be able to do as much as they’d like to now. The CSGD page on the USM web page has links to LGBTQA+ resources, multicultural student resources, and Religious and Spiritual Life resources.
The CSGD oversees the USM Safe Zone Project. The Safe Zone Project works to identify and support members of the USM community who are safe, supportive contacts for members of the LGBTQA+ community to talk to, whether they be students, staff, or faculty. Safe Zone Project volunteers participate in 1.5 to 2 hours of orientation to introduce them to the experiences faced by members of the LGBTQA+ community and how they can be successful allies. Once a person goes through orientation they can display a safe zone symbol on their door, desk, or on their person.
Though the CSGD helps many students and offers programs which are essential for some members of our community, these very same programs can not be utilized by many students who would like to utilize them. Many additional LGBTQA+ and allied students could utilize the CSGD in order spread awareness if there was an additional location on the Gorham campus.