Courtesy of UCR Today
Courtesy of UCR Today

The organization also celebrated its distinction as the first LGBT center in the University of California system.

The event began with a brunch and was followed by a speech by a number of coordinators and directors, including UCR Chancellor Jane Conoley. The conference then broke out into individual sessions throughout the Highlander Union Building. Amongst these breakout sessions included roundtable discussions, youth mentoring and outreach groups, religious oppression discussions and a talk about gay student-athletes playing in the NCAA.

Later in the conference, a two-hour panel was held by seven of the nine founders of the LGBT centers across the system.

“There is still work to be done, but compared to where things were in the beginning, our fight for basic rights such as domestic partner benefits and an inclusive non-discrimination policy, things have really come full circle,” said the founder of the LGBT center director at UC Davis, Allison Subasic.

Former UC Riverside chancellor and current chancellor of the California State University system Timothy P. White was honored at the conference with an award named after him. The award, formerly known as the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Status of LGBT’s Outstanding Ally Award, was renamed in honor of White because of his support of the LGBT community in his time at UC Riverside.

UCR LGBT coordinator Toi Thibodeaux spoke with the Highlander about the choice to rename the award in White’s honor. “He was an amazing ally and he was our first chancellor to get [the award],” she said. “We figured that since he was leaving, it’d be a great idea to rename it after him.”

White was unable to attend the event, but he did publish a letter to the center. “The lessons you taught me and the insight you gave me I carry with me to the CSU system where I hope that your messages and those of our own LGBT communities will continue to build a safe and enriching environment for every member of the queer community,” the letter read.

The conference ended with closing remarks by UCR LGBT Resource Center Director and conference organizer Nancy Jean Tubbs.

“The UQ Conference brought together a diverse group LGBT people and their allies and allowed us together to reflect on our progress and aspirations for the future, as we lead the way for LGBT-inclusion on campus,” said Tubbs.

The LGBT Resource Center and university have made substantial progress since 1993. In 1996, the school established a minor in LGBT studies and in 2005, the University of California provided trans-inclusive health benefits to all employees.