UW-Madison renames ‘LGBT Center’ to avoid ‘binaries’

The University of Madison-Wisconsin is changing the name of its LGBT Center amid concerns that the former name reinforces “binaries” and “labels.” 

Starting in the fall, the school’s LGBT Center will become the “Gender and Sexuality Campus Center” after careful consideration and input from the student body over the past year, according to a recent press release

“The purpose of the name change is to better align with the center’s mission,” the press release says, adding that the new name will better serve students who don’t necessarily identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. 

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Students “use an array of other language for their own identities and experiences,” the press release explains, adding that the name change was made after dozens of students weighed in. 

Simone Williams—a student staffer who uses they/them pronouns—praised the name change in a statement to the school. 

“Changing the name to Gender & Sexuality Campus Center tells students across all identities they can be heard,” Williams asserted. “There is a space here that doesn’t require labels or binaries. As culture shifts we must shift, I’m glad the staff in the Center know that.”

The name change reflects UW-Madison’s responsibility “to uplift and support the voices of the students on its campus [who are] often silenced, in the most inclusive and effective way possible,” Williams added.

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UW-Madison spokesperson Meredith Mcglone told Campus Reform that the name change is also in keeping with trends at other schools across the United States, such as Duke University and the University of Illinois-Chicago.

The name change will not impact the programming the center offers, Mcglone added. 

According to its website, the center facilitates trainings for students on issues such as “Beyond The Binary: Gender 101,” “LGBTQ-affirming healthcare,” and “Life at the Intersections.” It also hosts various events and community meetings for students throughout the year. 

“The Gender and Sexuality Campus Center provides education, outreach, advocacy, and resources for UW-Madison student communities and their allies to improve campus climate and their daily experiences,” Mcglone told Campus Reform

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen