LGBTQ+ Representation at UIS

People celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride | Photo Credit:

For a long time, the LGBTQ+ community was looked down upon and treated as less-than for being outside of the norm. This means that any opportunities we can take to develop the community norm of LGBTQ+ relationships and identities in media are even more important than they might be otherwise, and it is also necessary to remove the taboo associations many still hold regarding the wide spectrum of identities. It is important that this community receives this representation, as it can help develop a healthy sense of community for an individual. College, in particular, is a valuable time for people to learn about themselves and build their identity, making it important that resources are readily available for students to safely self-discover.

This is something that UIS does fairly well in many ways, from educating students to making exploratory resources available at every turn. In the Student Life building (SLB 22) alone, there are pamphlets on sexual abuse, relationship health guides, easily accessible condoms and faculty available in the Diversity Center and Women’s Center. All of these things are meant to make the concept of sex less daunting, as well as normalize the expression of oneself on any point of the LGBTQ+ spectrum.

Our University offers a great deal of resources for those in the LGBTQ+ community. Also housed in the Student Life buildin is Gender Sexuality & Student Services (GSSS) section where students can be educated and accepted regardless of their identity or sexuality. There, Dre Duvendack is the program coordinator and is available alongside GSSS staff (including myself) to be there for students as much as possible. Some events that will take place in the future will involve Pride Month, Women’s History Month, Queertober, and more to encourage students to embrace their community and express themselves as openly as they feel comfortable with.

Smaller scale events include weekly LGBTea, where all are welcome to chat, eat snacks and discuss anything they’d like to. The road to normalized LGBTQ+ representation is a long one, and at times it may seem like little progress has been made in our country as a whole. But at least within the bounds of our college campus, UIS is doing the best it can, step-by-step, to ensure the safety and representation of its students.