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How LGBTQ+ Resource Centers Are Making a Difference on College Campuses

oSTEM shares the importance of LGBTQ+ resource centers on university campuses and provides actionable tips to support LGBTQ+ students and professionals in STEM.
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It is well known that marginalized populations face persistent, systemic barriers to entering and staying in STEM fields.

oSTEM (Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is dedicated to empowering LGBTQ+ people in STEM disciplines by fostering leadership and professional development alongside LGBTQ+ community support and advocacy. oSTEM plays a crucial role in advancing the visibility and representation of LGBTQ+ students and professionals in STEM disciplines, contributing to a more inclusive and diverse scientific and technical workforce.

For our members in more than 150 chapters worldwide, oSTEM represents just one component of their support network. This network often includes other professional organizations like the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), clubs, community-based organizations, and university-based LGBTQ+ resource centers.

LGBTQ+ resource centers are more than just physical locations on university campuses. They serve as critical touchstones of support, advocacy, and community for students exploring and embracing diverse gender identities and sexual orientations.

These centers offer an impressive array of services like mental health support, HIV testing, educational workshops, leadership opportunities, and food. They also provide essential, but less tangible things, like community, connection, acceptance, and safety in otherwise hostile environments.

In recent years, the closure of these centers across the United States has highlighted a troubling trend in the erosion of safe spaces and support networks for LGBTQ+ individuals. From funding cuts, staff layoffs, and shifting administrative priorities and structures, to actively harmful anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-DEI legislation, more and more LGBTQ+ resource centers have been forced to shutter their doors, despite an increasing need for their services.

A Call to Action

These closures are a sobering reminder of the perilous nature of being an LGBTQ+ person in our world. And while nothing can replace LGBTQ+ centers, oSTEM works tirelessly to provide support to students and professionals.

Whether you’re seeking support or looking to join the fight, there are many ways to get started:

  • Find a campus-based LGBTQ+ resource center near you.
  • Find a community-based LGBTQ+ resource center near you.
  • Find (or start!) a local LGBTQ+ STEM chapter or group. Connect with your local LGBTQ+ STEM community!
  • Volunteer with organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community. Join a vibrant global community of volunteers committed to making change.
  • Attend conferences and events dedicated to LGBTQ+ individuals in STEM. Participate in workshops, panels, networking, and more.
  • Donate to the LGBTQ+ scholarships. Make a direct impact on LGBTQ+ students through financial aid and application fee assistance.

SWE is proud to partner with oSTEM as one of our Joint Member Partner Organizations, alongside with AISES, NSBE, SHPE, and Out to Innovate.

Author

  • oSTEM

    Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM), Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit professional association for LGBTQ+ people in the STEM community. With over 100 student chapters at colleges/universities and professional chapters in cities across the United States and abroad, oSTEM is the largest chapter-based organization focused on LGBTQ+ people in STEM.

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