Post submitted by Samantha Master, former HRC Youth & Campus Engagement Manager
On the 25th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, NC will join the ranks of Bowie State University and North Carolina Central University as the third historically Black college/university (HBCU) in the nation to open an LGBT resource center. The aim of FSU’s Safezone Office, “a resource and ally office for the LGBT community,” is to raise cultural competence of faculty and staff on LGBTQ issues, provide visible support to the LGBTQ population on campus, educate students on issues facing LGBTQ people and retain LGBT students.
More and more frequently, HBCUs are honoring the lives and legacies of black LGBT people both contemporarily and historically. Last year, Morehouse College became the second HBCU to offer a Black LGBT studies course, North Carolina Central University opened the second LGBT resource center on an HBCU campus, and the President of Morgan State University commissioned the first President’s Advisory Council on LGBT Issues—a move that came out of recommendations set forth by the Audre Lorde Project out of Spelman College.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation began its work with historically black colleges and universities in 2002 after a series of violent attacks targeting LGBT students on these campuses. In February of 2004, HRC staff organized a weekend-long summit in Washington, D.C. to convene LGBT student-leaders on HBCU campuses. This summit sought to teach students to run LGBT organizations, build allies and confront anti-LGBT antagonism in their campus communities. In the nine years since, HRC has expanded the scope of the HBCU LGBT Summit to include topics of entering the workforce and leadership development in its agenda.
For more information on HRCs work with HBCUs, please visit www.hrc.org/HBCU