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September 26, 2012

O-Issue 2012: LGBTQ resources

If you’re looking for LGBTQ resources, allies, or peers, you’ve come to the right place. This year the U of C campus was deemed one of the most welcoming and queer-friendly by the LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index Rating, and Chicago’s first gay liberation organization was started here in 1969. In 2006, gender identity was added to the University’s Unlawful Discrimination and Harassment Policy, which means that each student is “accepted as an autonomous individual and is treated without regard to characteristics irrelevant to the participation in the life of the University.” Suffice to say, an atmosphere of acceptance is widely promoted and encouraged at the University. With this environment comes an array of resources, from trans discussion groups and a queer policy club to LGBTQ alumni groups and mixers.

A good place to begin is the Office of LGBTQ Student Life, housed at 5710 South Woodlawn Avenue, which is also home to the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA). Established in 2008, the Office of LGBTQ Student Life provides programming, discussion groups (known as QGroups), guest speakers, mixers, and other opportunities. The Office also provides an extensive mentoring program in which undergraduate students are paired with an LGBTQ graduate student, faculty or staff member. The program aims to enhance community while also helping students navigate issues they may have, be they professional or otherwise.

There are also a number of more specialized RSOs, ranging from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans People in Medicine (LGBTPM) to OutLaw, the University’s oldest LGBTQ RSO, started in 1984. Others include Out&About, an organization that connects students with community service opportunities on campus and in the city; Out in Public (Policy), a Harris School group that focuses on policies that affect those in the LGBTQ community; as well as OUTreach, Queers & Associates, and The Sacred Flame.

If you’re looking for a wider world of LGBTQ life, Chicago’s city life has you covered. The Center on Halsted is one of the largest LGBTQ community centers in the Midwest and is a hub for culture, community, and programming in the city’s Boystown neighborhood.

June is also Pride month, which the city commemorates by various events and parades including, but not limited to, Pride Walk and Dyke March.

For more information head to Queer 101, an orientation for LGBTQ students, this Friday, September 28, at 5710. The (U)Chicago Queer Compass, an annual guide to LGBTQ life also published by the Office at 5710, is an indispensable and exhaustive guide to University and city resources, and can be found online at lgbtq.uchicago.edu.

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