The role of the Center for Gender and Sexuality on campus

Students sit around the office of the Center for Gender and Sexuality. A gay pride flag is hung on the wall in the background.

Students socialize in the office of CGS on the second floor of UCEN.

Luis Martinez, Writer

As students return to campus this semester, the University of Michigan-Flint’s Center for Gender and Sexuality continues to provide support and remains to be a dedicated and safe service to the students. 

 

CGS has evolved some since its debut on campus in 2001. Back then, it was a center for helping women in higher education. The center then began providing more vital services for like sexual assault advocacy in 2004. CGS now provides even more services from an “intersectional, inclusive, and gendered lens,” according to their landing page on UM-Flint’s website.

 

Intersectionality is important when it comes to CGS and other services on campus. Intersectionality is the study of social groups and their relations to discrimination and privilege. In the general community at UM-Flint, this is important as CGS wants to provide a safe space for those who need their service. Intersectionality can help us understand how to address certain issues and how to help. 

 

CGS provides resources in helping with the education of the UM-Flint community and generally help people feel comfortable about themselves and the people around them. 

 

The staff of CGS highlight just how these services are important to the community and personally.

 

For example, Hillary Murmur, GSC coordinator explains how her being part of the lgbtqia+ community affected her while being involved in youth work in the past. “Being out in those spaces with younger people I had these experiences of all these queer youths going ‘oh my god here is a queer adult.’” Such experiences left Murmur feeling like a role model to these students and felt it was the right course to continue this work to help UM-Flint students. 

 

Other workers expressed further the services they provide especially the sexual advocacy services. One worker Logan Keir explained that students can speak with Sarah Devitt, a sexual assault advocate, in confidence and also get a list of resources.  

 

Overall, CGS staff want students to know that the center provides a safe avenue for those who are a victim of sexual assault or those who feel alienated from the UM-Flint community.

 

CGS staff also highlighted the importance of the service and the intersectionality of their lives that can serve to help others. “The rise of transphobia and homophobia is extremely disheartening,” says Keir, “but I want to provide people with resources on how to address it and cope.”  Jaylon Burchfield, a CGS staff member adds, “Using my voice and the material we present to people can help against the hateful push against the LGBT community.” 

 

In addition, CGS held a vigil in honor of Transgender Remembrance Day on Nov. 18, where staff read the names of those who have passed away due to violence.  In a showing of solidarity with the trans community, a trans remembrance day was held at the Riverfront on the 18th of November 2022, where the reading of names of trans people victims of anti-trans violence were read. 

If you need more information about CGS, visit its website.