Celebrating Pride: 11 Ways Binghamton University Supports and Educates LGBTQIA+ Bearcats and Allies

Posted by Michael Burt, BA ‘15 MSW ‘21 and Tanyah Barnes on May 31, 2022


Celebrating Pride: 11 Ways Binghamton University Supports and Educates LGBTQIA+ Bearcats and Allies

Pride Month is celebrated in June each year to commemorate the uprising following police raiding the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969, which served as a pivotal moment for the LGBTQIA+ rights movement. Pride Month is a time for the LGBTQIA+ community to come together and celebrate their identities, recognize advancements that have been made and reflect on work that still needs to be done. Pride Month is also a wonderful opportunity for those questioning their identities to continue to learn more about them and for allies to reflect and learn about how they can offer support in effective ways.

The following is a listing of 11 resources and things to remember as you celebrate and support our LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month.

Q Center

The Q Center, one of two identity centers in the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), provides a safe environment where gender and sexual diversity is affirmed, and community is fostered through an inclusive campus environment. The center has an array of resources, educational opportunities and social justice initiatives, while also offering programming to support LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities. The center offers several key programs and initiatives to the campus community:

The Pegasus First Year Experience Program helps first-year LGBTQIA+ students transition into college life at Binghamton University through the initial Rainbow Welcome orientation program, the UNIV 101 Cultivating Queer Community first-year experience seminar and the Pegasus Programming Board. 

The center itself features a lounge, meeting room, library and gender-affirming clothing closet. The Gender Bender Closet has been expanded to provide the community an easy and inviting way to obtain clothes that affirm gender identity and expression while actively challenging the gender binary. The closet operates as a free thrift shop that is always taking donations. 

Active Ally Program

The Binghamton University Active Ally Program, facilitated by the Q Center, takes the traditional Safe Zone training models and significantly updates and expands upon them. Our Active Ally model goes beyond simply understanding LGBTQIA+ identities and passively supporting LGBTQIA+ people. The program focuses on what it means to serve in the liberation of LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities. The program currently offers two tiers: foundational workshops and Deep Dive sessions. The program is open to all constituency groups on campus: faculty, staff, students, straight-cisgender allies and all LGBTQIA+ people.

Affirming and Inclusive Classroom Workshops

The Q Center and DEI support Binghamton University faculty and staff in creating a classroom environment that is affirming for LGBTQIA+ identities. In doing so, Q Center staff provide individualized workshops for academic departments, as well as the Chosen Name Syllabus Statement. This sample statement can be used to communicate faculty commitment and expectations for the inclusion of transgender and gender-expansive students both in and outside of the classroom. Learn more about our Chosen Name syllabus statements.

Chosen Name Policy

The University has adopted a chosen-name policy in an effort to be a more inclusive community. With this policy, any student or employee is able to self-identify a chosen first name in the University’s information systems.

Pronouns

You may have noticed that some people on campus share their pronouns when they introduce themselves or include their pronouns with their name in an email or on their name tag. In English, whether we realize it or not, people frequently refer to others using pronouns. Using someone’s correct personal pronouns is a way to respect them and create an inclusive environment, just as using a person’s name can be a way to respect them. Conversely, actively choosing to ignore the pronouns someone has stated that they go by could imply the oppressive notion that intersex, transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people do not or should not exist. To aid in creating an inclusive campus, you can make it a point to introduce yourself with your pronouns and create space for others to share their pronouns with you.

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) is an academic program that explores gender and its relation to other identities, including race, class, ethnicity, nationality, religion and sexuality. Faculty members from different disciplines offer courses in the program and WGSS also offers internships and special projects with local agencies under the supervision of the program’s director. Examples of courses offered this summer are “Men & Masculinities” and “Gender, Violence & Social Justice."

LGBTQIA+ student organizations and leadership opportunities

Binghamton University has a wealth of student organizations that intentionally create inclusive space for LGBTQIA+ students. Here are a few of the organizations that focus on serving the LGBTQIA+ community:

SHADES (Instagram / Bengaged) is an organization that was created for LGBTQIA+ students of color and aims to create a safer atmosphere on campus through activism, education and social events. SHADES meets every week to discuss intersectionality and the unique issues faced, while participating in activities to foster inclusion and community at Binghamton.

Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) (Instagram / Bengaged) is a  club for LGBTQIA+ students at Binghamton that aims to create a safe community and environment for LGBTQIA+ students in the STEM fields, while also welcoming any LGBTQIA+ students and allies, regardless of their major.

Keshet (Instagram), meaning “rainbow” in Hebrew, is a sub-group of Hillel at Binghamton University that serves and empowers LGBTQIA+ Jewish students.

Rainbow Pride Union (RPU) (Instagram / Website) is Binghamton’s oldest LGBTQIA+ organization that provides a safe haven for the LGBTQ community on campus and in the surrounding areas.

Gender Inclusive Housing

Binghamton recognizes that same-sex room assignments are not ideal or appropriate for all students. Gender Inclusive Housing (GIH) seeks to provide an environment that is welcoming to all gender identities and is not limited to the traditional gender binary (man and woman). Students who sign up for these areas will be permitted to have roommates, flatmates and suitemates regardless of gender identity. Gender inclusive housing is available in most living communities. Learn more using our Gender Inclusive Housing FAQ Fact Sheet.

All Gender Restrooms

All-Gender Restrooms are facilities anyone can use regardless of gender expression or gender identity. Binghamton University has provided at least one gender-neutral restroom in 18 facilities on campus. Find facilities and locations.

Gender and Sexuality Support Groups

The Q Center offers Transcend, a peer-led social group for transgender and gender-expansive students. The group discusses topics and current events related to gender identity and provides general support for each other. The day and time of meetings change each semester to accommodate the needs of members and can be verified via email at transcend@binghamton.edu or by inquiring at the Q Center.

The University Counseling Center (UCC) provides clinical and referral services for undergraduate students, graduate students and affiliated entities. The UCC offers an area of focus for LGBTQ identities by providing a counselor liaison to the Q Center who supports weekly Let’s Talk sessions. UCC staff also facilitate a Gender and Sexuality support group, for students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender expansive, queer or are questioning their sexual orientation or gender.

OUT for Work

The Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development has been awarded SILVER certification through OUT for Work's Career Center Certification Program. They have a thorough understanding of the complications LGBTQ students may face when looking for internships or jobs after college and resources to help. Find specific LGBTQ resources in CareerTools

Things to Remember

If you are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community or questioning your gender or sexual identity, we encourage you to connect with the Q Center staff, who can help you to find your fit here at Binghamton. If you are an ally at Binghamton University, the Q Center’s Active Ally Program is a great place to better understand the LGBTQIA+ community and actively advocate for the community. Allyship is always valued and by taking the time to educate yourself on the queer community, you can work towards becoming an advocate for change and liberation..

Using people’s pronouns correctly is extremely important because it validates a person’s gender identity and shows them the respect they deserve. To aid in creating a gender-inclusive campus, you can make it a point to introduce yourself with your pronouns, which helps others to be more comfortable with sharing their pronouns. With this, do not make assumptions of someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation. By avoiding assumptions, you are allowing others to be more comfortable and open up to you on their own terms.

Always remember that it is a privileged and oppressive position to expect LGBTQIA+ individuals to educate you on their history and community. If you are not a member of the community, but want to learn, we encourage you to take ownership of your own learning. In addition to various courses and training opportunities offered here at Binghamton that you can use for awareness and competency building, there are a wealth of online resources available that can educate you on the struggles of the community, as well as key people and events in LGBTQ+ history.

Finally, join us in celebrating SUNY Pride 2022: Pride in Action. This is the season to be active, and this year’s SUNY Pride events will include Freedom Day: Celebrating Juneteenth and Pride Together, SUNY Pride Art Gallery, SUNY Pride Networking Nights, SUNY Pridefest, the SUNY Spectrum Conference and more. For more information on SUNY Pride virtual programming and events check out: https://www.suny.edu/pride/events/.

Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? Email us at social@binghamton.edu.

Tanyah Barnes is associate director of operations for the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and co-teaches the UNIV 101: Cultivating Queer Community first-year experience course. When she's not on campus you can find her engaging in community service and activism, creating graphic design or other creative projects, reading, traveling or connecting with loved ones.

Michael Burt is a social worker and previously served as graduate assistant and interim coordinator for the Q Center.

Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? Email us at social@binghamton.edu.