Last week, on Oct. 11, the college’s Gender and Sexuality Student Resource Center (GSSRC) celebrated four years since the center was established. Festivities took place at the GSSRC’s office at the South City Campus and included snacks, karaoke and a red carpet photo shoot.
The GSSRC originally came about when a few school members requested the school create centers dedicated to women and the LGBTQ+ community. After a decision that merged both ideas, Salt Lake Community College administration gave the green light, and the center began laying out plans for its opening. They settled on a date in 2019 that coincided with the International Day of the Girl and National Coming Out Day.
“It’s been a wild ride,” said GSSRC Manager Peter Moosman.
Before the establishment of the GSSRC, there were no employees at SLCC whose sole purpose was LGBTQ+ work. Now, the center acts as a space for queer students to seek resources and build communities. Student Kit Flandro was intrigued when the center first opened and said it’s become a “safe haven” for them.
The South City Campus is currently the only campus that has a dedicated GSSRC office. At the Taylorsville Redwood Campus, the GSSRC shares space with the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs on Wednesdays and Thursdays. GSSRC staff expressed hope for a physical presence at every other campus but cited space and funding as ongoing challenges.
Moving forward, the GSSRC’s mission is to expand physical spaces tailored to the queer community beyond just official offices. Earlier this year, for example, Moosman and other school members tried to name the South City courtyard the “Transgender Justice and Liberation Courtyard.”
The naming effort ultimately fell through when SLCC administration decided not to give final approval, but Moosman said the courtyard remains a crucial part of their vision to see the GSSRC transform into a small, on-campus complex.
Moosman also wants to see the implementation of a gender studies degree or certificate at SLCC, and he said he’s already had discussions about the matter with the school’s academic department.
Moosman hopes that more people become aware of the center and its resources, and he advises everyone to engage in the process and take the time to learn about the LGBTQ+ community and their experiences.
“We’re all a part of this together,” he said. “Let there be humanity in our relationships.”
Heather Graham from the Student Reading and Writing Center – who is a collaborator with the GSSRC through the Lavender Journal, a queer writing publication — said that when students see faculty and staff engage with the GSSRC, it “breaks barriers” and instills a sense of comfort in knowing that SLCC students, faculty and staff can be themselves while accessing other services.
“It gives a sense of belonging,” Graham said. “It’s always inviting and feels inclusive.”