- ABOUT US
In the cozy, book-lined University Annex, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center (LGBTRC) staff works to create a welcoming campus environment for LGBT people.
"The center itself is a safe space to hang out, use the computers and library, and watch videos," Sheri Atkinson, director of the center, says. "It's a place of community building."
Anyone is welcome to use the center's library to explore identity–related issues or for research papers.
Atkinson, Sara Farooqi, office coordinator, and the student interns oversee many activities, including four awareness weeks:
The LGBTRC's three-hour Safe Zone training, offered twice per quarter, is a popular workshop that raises awareness about LGBT issues.
"People who complete the Safe Zone training are given the option of receiving a certificate of completion to display and a button to wear," Atkinson says. "These help make safe zones visible to LGBT people to create a more inclusive and welcoming campus."
The center offers a two-hour Transgender Safe Zone workshop as well.
Atkinson also works with student peer educators who conduct training in the residence halls.
"In addition, I talk one–on–one with students and staff on a range of issues around identity," Atkiinson said, "and make sure people get referred to the appropriate resource."
The LGBT Resource Center shares a comunity counselor, Jezzie Fulmen, with the Women's Resources and Research Center. Fulmen holds office hours at both centers and is available for students.
Atkinson is encouraged by the increase in awareness among incoming students of LGBT issues, yet she still hears from students who experience homophobia.
"For instance, students continue to relate classroom situations in which another student makes a homophobic comment that goes unaddressed by the TA or faculty member," Atkinson says. "Sometimes it's the TA or faculty member that makes a homophobic remark. So raising awareness and education are still needed."
As the LGBTRC director, Atkinson advocates on behalf of the campus's LGBTRC community on an institutional and systemwide level.
"In the past, issues were more tangible, such as domestic partnership benefits, sexual orientation and gender identity anti-discrimination clauses," Atkinson says. "Discrimination issues are often more subtle now."
Adds Atkinson, "Homophobia still exists in our society and on our campus. However, at UC Davis, we have a strong LGBT community and allies that work to create a more inclusive campus community."
Atkinson has noticed an increase in the number of prospective students researching the resources campuses have to offer the LGBT community. "Students and parents come by the center during campus tours to ask about the campus climate in order to make decisions on where they choose to go to college" Atkinson says.