Portland is one of the most progressive cities in the country. Many have likened Portland today to San Francisco in its heyday: A place where you can express yourself however you’d like without fear of recrimination. If anything, the Portland State campus is a distillation of that sentiment of self expression. We want you to feel comfortable being who you are. Regardless of sexual identity or gender orientation, we believe you should always feel safe and we’ve got the resources to prove it.
One of the most prominent resources for queer students on campus is no doubt the Queer Resource Center (located in room 458, on the fourth floor of Smith Memorial Student Union), the hub of all things LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and ally). The QRC was founded in the early 2000s when numerous LGBT student groups banded together to create what is now a resource and referral center (with an expanded focus) within the university. Today the QRC hosts all manner of events, speaker series’ and academic-support programs.
One of the first things you might want to take advantage of at the QRC is their College Success Course, which teaches the basics of success at PSU and beyond. The course also informs students of exactly what kinds of resources are available at the QRC. Academic coaching is also available in 50-minute sessions that teach students study skills, resume building, resolution of interpersonal conflicts, and how to confront academic concerns, as well as providing general support.
College can be expensive, but if you’ve got the grades to prove your dedication then a whole slew of scholarships are available to help you pay for your education. The QRC can help you find these scholarships and help you navigate the sometimes labyrinthine process associated with them. If you’re a real spitfire and you’re looking to make big changes in the PSU LGBTQIA communities, you might find yourself at the Lavender Graduation someday. The Lavender Graduation is a celebration of the accomplishments of queer students and allies during their time at PSU. Graduates can choose friends, family members or mentors to introduce them and talk about their scholarly successes.
The QRC also has numerous resources available for transgender students. All members of the QRC receive training on transgender issues, and can act as general resources for transgender students. The QRC even helps with name and pronoun advocacy. After filling out a form at the QRC offices, the QRC’s transgender and interpersonal violence coordinator will email professors to inform them of your chosen name and pronoun. The QRC is also a great place to learn more about the transgender community in the greater Portland area, and the best ways to reach out to said communities.
Queer students of color are also represented by the QRC, and staff can direct you to numerous local groups and organizations that deal specifically with issues of queerness, racial justice and alliance. The QRC also offers a list of departments within the university that have successfully completed the center’s queer ally training, meaning that each department should provide the appropriate services to gender and sexual minority students. The departments include International Student Life, the Multicultural Center and the Women’s Resource Center, among others.
Student groups also play a crucial role in the campus LGBTQIA community. One of the most recent additions is the PSU Polyamory Club, a support group that meets twice a month in the Women’s Resource Center. Members of the club converse freely on a range of topics relating to polyamory, chosen at the beginning of the meeting. Previous topics have included everything from problems at work to communication in relationships, as well as the pros and cons of coming out in different areas of life.
PSU has a lot to offer all manner of LGBTQIA communities, and with this guide in hand, you’re one step closer to taking advantage of those resources. They’re waiting for you!