The UWM LGBTQ+ Resource Center is a community on campus dedicated to providing social-justice-based education, resources, programming, and support for students of all genders and orientations. We value intersectionality and aim to create a UWM community that is community that is equitable, respectful, and engaged in challenging systemic oppression.
The LGBTQ+ visibility has been an important part of campus life since 1971, when the UW-Milwaukee Gay People’s Union was founded, a student group and social service agency dedicated to the needs of the gay community.
One of our more well-known historical members of the UWM community is Lou Sullivan. Sullivan was a writer, activist, proponent of the transmasculine community, one of the first to publicly identify as both gay and a trans man. He grew up in Milwaukee and worked at UWM, where he helped was deeply involved with the Gay People’s Union. Sullivan left Milwaukee and moved to San Francisco, California to access community, acceptance, and trans healthcare, but his legacy lives on here in Milwaukee.
In 1994, a task force on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual issues was developed with the hope of bringing about a more inclusive environment on campus. In 2001 the Task Force created a proposal for the creation of a space dedicated to promoting the welfare of LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff on campus, and the LGBTQ+ Resource Center was born!
January 1st of 2002, the founding director was hired and we started the process of opening the center by creating a space for programs to take place. From there, other programs and resources which we still have, such as the L.I.F.T. program, began to be developed. This program was well received and contributed to creating a more inclusive campus specifically for LGBTQ+ students. It was from this program that we realized we did not need to have all the answers to people’s questions but we could at least provide people with help and resources to find their answers throughout the UWM campus.
The UWM LGBTQ+ Resource Center had it’s Grand Opening on September 26, 2002 with a Ribbon Cutting. It was a great day for the LGBTQ+ Community here at UWM and the resource center continues to be a valued and inclusive space utilized daily by the UWM LGBTQ+ community and its allies.