Sexuality and Gender Equality Center (S.A.G.E) is a “safe haven”
Amy Kulikowski – Special to the Southern News
On the second floor of the Adanti Student Center, there is a space called the Sexuality and Gender Equality Center (S.A.G.E.). The mission of S.A.G.E. is to serve the L.G.B.T. (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender), Q.Q.I.A. (Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual) and allies community on the SCSU campus.
The center works closely with the L.G.B.T. Prism Club, which works toward educational awareness, promotes acceptance and fairness in campus policies and student attitudes and maintains a supportive network.
The organization also works to peacefully combat homophobia, which may include activities such as participating in student panels in classrooms and sponsoring films and dances. A discussion group called Q-group is also offered and is open to students in the L.G.B.T. community to provide a comfortable atmosphere to all members.
Lauren Todd, who works at S.A.G.E., describes the acceptance of the L.G.B.T. and Q.Q.I.A. communities as something that isn’t at the standards yet of other universities in Connecticut.
“I think Southern has a long way to go still, but this is definitely a good step so far,” said Todd. “Southern is making progress, but with something that is ever changing, there is always more to do.”
Todd believest SCSU should have had a center long ago, and as culture is changing, SCSU has to follow suit and make sure that the university is serving the students properly in the L.G.B.T. community. S.A.G.E. recently started in August 2014, and is in the process of trying to lift off the ground.
“We are organizing a new resource called Speakers Bureau, which a lot of universities have, and is setting up a panel of students that can go into classrooms, club meetings, and various spaces that the professor requests to talk about their experiences,” said Todd.
Judaen Brown works at the S.A.G.E. center with Todd, and works on setting up events, making flyers and getting the word out about events in the near future.
Brown describes the center as a safe haven for herself and a good place to hang out, do homework, and to get things off your mind. She believes the center has helped her and notices a lot of others coming in and using the space.
Brown said S.A.G.E. does many events with the multicultural center, where she also works. But when it comes to other clubs on campus, she feels they could work more closely with S.A.G.E. to improve awareness at SCSU.
“I think it should happen, and just with a little bit more time getting the word out. I know that not everybody is comfortable with a queer community and not a lot of people understand the queer community,” said Brown. “I believe that Southern is headed in the right direction for the fact that they even have the S.A.G.E. center at all. The fact that they have it is a big step forward, so I wouldn’t be surprised by the end of the semester, everybody knew what was going on.”
Todd and Brown are just a few of the people that use the center and work hard at supporting students on campus that need it. With people like them, SCSU can go a long way in accepting the L.G.B.T. and Q.Q.I.A. communities. With the discrimination and issues that the L.G.B.T. community faces everywhere, it is important for such a group as S.A.G.E. to exist for the SCSU community as a place to feel safe and secure.
Photo Credit: Derek Torrellas