What Shapes Our Work...
The GSRC works toward personal and collective queer liberation and advancement by co-facilitating community events, educational initiatives, community space and institutional advocacy in partnership with Northwestern’s queer students, community organizations, and partner offices.
*Liberation in this mission statement takes into account that Northwestern is a participant in current systems and thus limits the extent of our work as an office, but not as individuals or a collective. We strive to offset this power imbalance through collective decision making, collective care, and collective accountability. We believe that liberation work takes many forms when organizing toward a more just and equitable world for all. We are proud to be partners in the work and support students in finding and/or evolving their place in authentically caring for each other. We steadfastly believe that systemic oppression is interconnected and queer liberation is not possible without Black liberation and decolonization.
Students who engage with the GSRC will be able to…
... identify Northwestern, community and regional resources related to gender and sexuality.
… identify personal values, recognize larger systems of oppression, and practice being in community with others outside the constructs of cis-heteronormativity.
... articulate and model authentic and inclusive leadership both personally and professionally.
Beginning in the early 1970’s it was student activism that brought queer voices to the fore at Northwestern. What began as Northwestern’s Gay Liberation Front changed to Gay and Lesbian Alliance in the 80’s, Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Alliance (BGALA) in the 90s, and Rainbow Alliance in the early 2000s. Several other LGBTQIA+ student groups have come (and some have gone) over the years which includes but not limited to: Living in Color, Lambda, oSTEM, Queer Students of Color.
LGBTQIA+ Space and Staffing
In May of 2003 students passed ASG legislation asking for a student resource center serving the LGBT population. But even then, students were concerned about the solutions the university provided. In January of 2004 the LGBT Center opened providing space and programming to this student population and the campus community. In 2011 students pushed for full time position to be filled which lead to the LGBT Center’s first staff member, Devin Moss from 2012-2014. In May 2014 the university celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the LGBT Center and in 2015 the LGBT Center changed its name to the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) to be more inclusive and expansive of the students that Northwestern serves. Later in 2015, the GSRC was placed within MSA’s suite of identity-based resources to provide more intersectional programming and services and a new assistant director was hired. Following JT, Matt Abtahi has served as the assistant director since fall of 2019, charged with serving the LGBTQIA+ student population. Information from the most recent Campus Climate Survey in 2018 and the GQNBT task force in 2019 remind us that the work of LGBTQIA+ programming and belonging must continue as we co-create a Northwestern for all genders and sexual orientations. During the 2013-2014 MSA program review and the 2020-2021 CIC program review it began to become Vidant that the work of the GSRC was not effective housed within Multicultural Student Affairs. The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs along with the Executive Director of CIC began engaging in a ReImaging the GSRC campaign following the legislation Rainbow Alliance proposed and got passed in ASG in 2020. In the Winter quarter of 2023 student affairs identified fund to renovate House 5 of the Foster Walker complex and after student feedback sessions on floor plans and layouts construction of the new space began in June of 2023.
“Movements are born of critical connections rather than critical mass.” — Grace Lee Boggs