Bowie State Becomes First HBCU to Open LGBT Resource Center
April 3, 2012 by Lauren Waters
On April 2, 2012, history was made for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) across the country. Bowie State University in Bowie, MD, opened a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Allies (LGBTQI and Allies) Resource Center. It is the first of its kind at a public HBCU. The grand opening was held in the center’s permanent home. The goal of the center is to provide information, counseling and a safe space for LGBT students.
The grand opening was packed with 80 people attending. Dr. Adrian Krishnasamy, Director of the Resource Center and Assistant Professor, Department of Communications, is the Faculty Administrator for the Bowie State Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). The event was attended by over six key Administrators. The school has been working on opening the center since 2007. They experienced resistance in moving forward with key officials backing it. The issue was challenged also because the university lacked sufficient funding to support it. "Opening a center like this at Bowie State is significant because HBCU’s usually don't want to address LGBT issues," says Dr. Adrian Krishnasamy.
There was excitement in the air when the program began. Students from the GSA spoke about their personal stories of feeling scared to attend an HBCU because they were afraid of not being accepted, but now feelcomfortable and safe. Bowie Administrators talked about the support they have given each other to make sure the center was opened. The speaker was Donna Payne, HRC Associate Director of Diversity. She talked about the history of HRC’s HBCU Program and why we must support HBCU’s. Donna also informed them that this moment “lights a fire” under future HBCU’s to support LGBT students on campus.
The LGBTQIA Center will be open daily from noon to 5 p.m. It will provide students with access to a meeting space, computers and a library of educational materials, as well as to a trained counselor who can help students with personal problems.
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