Spotlight Office: LGBT Resource Center
UW-Milwaukee has consistently been considered a nationwide leader in creating a welcoming and inclusive campus climate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT+) students. In fact, for the fourth year in a row, UW-Milwaukee has been named one of America’s most welcoming universities for LGBTQ+ students. The annual Campus Pride Index places UWM among the country’s top 30 LGBT-friendly colleges or universities.
The UWM LGBT Resource Center has played a significant role in achieving and maintaining this safe environment for LGBT+ students.
“LGBTQ youth and families want to know what campuses are doing when it comes to inclusive policies, programs and practices – not only for four year colleges but also two year colleges,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride and creator of the Campus Pride Index. “The ‘Best of the Best’ highlights the Top 30 this year for four year colleges and the Top Five for two year and community colleges. Campus Pride is proud of the growing number of campuses that are improving their LGBTQ campus climate and wanting to be the ‘Best of the Best’ each year.”
Campus Pride chose 30 colleges and universities based on their overall ratings on the Campus Pride Index and specific LGBTQ-inclusive benchmark measures. For example, does a university have policies in place protecting students from bias or segregation based on gender or sexual orientation? Is there a dedicated LGBT Resource Center?
In UWM’s case, the answers are “yes.”
Included in that answer is the first inclusive housing policy in the UW System, enacted by University Housing at UWM in 2013. The university’s top 30 finish can also be attributed to its freestanding LGBT Studies program, an active LGBT Alumni Chapter and gender-neutral bathroom facilities guaranteed in all new campus construction.
Jen Murray, director of the UWM LGBT Resource Center, said the Campus Pride Index is an important tool for prospective students to ensure their future home will be a welcoming one.
“This designation is an honor that validates all the hard work put in by LGBTQ+ and ally students and staff over the years to create the best UWM campus climate possible,” said Murray. “With this ranking, our incoming students can rest assured that they are attending an institution ready to meet their needs through both policy and practice.”
The UWM LGBT Resource Center aims to create an inclusive campus community free of discrimination in all forms where social justice inspires community engagement and equitable campus practices. The office actively engages with other departments on campus to create an affirming and welcoming educational environment for all students. UWM’s campus has also been home to some groundbreaking strides for the LGBTQ+ community.
Each semester, the LGBT Resource Center develops and hosts several LGBT+-focused events open to the entire campus. None are bigger than the UWM Annual Drag Show, which in 2019 had its biggest show yet, attracting over 2,000 people to the Milwaukee Theatre. And in May, the Center will celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of UWM LGBT+ identified graduates with the Annual Lavender Graduation. For more details: uwm.edu/lavgrad.
The UWM LGBT Resource Center exists to serve all UWM students, families and the campus community so be sure to stop by and visit us in Union WG-89 or at lgbt.uwm.edu.