The Daily Iowan

LGBTQ Resource Center changes name to Pride Alliance Center to promote inclusion

The LGBTQ Resource Center has been renamed to the Pride Alliance Center to be more inclusive and to clearly reflect the center's purpose.

The+LGBTQ+Resource+Center+is+seen+on+Januahry+16%2C+2019.+The+center+is+the+future+home+of+the+newest+branch+of+the+UI+Food+Pantry.+
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LGBTQ Resource Center changes name to Pride Alliance Center to promote inclusion

The LGBTQ Resource Center is seen on Januahry 16, 2019. The center is the future home of the newest branch of the UI Food Pantry.

The LGBTQ Resource Center is seen on Januahry 16, 2019. The center is the future home of the newest branch of the UI Food Pantry.

Matthew Finley

The LGBTQ Resource Center is seen on Januahry 16, 2019. The center is the future home of the newest branch of the UI Food Pantry.

Matthew Finley

Matthew Finley

The LGBTQ Resource Center is seen on Januahry 16, 2019. The center is the future home of the newest branch of the UI Food Pantry.

Rylee Wilson, News Reporter

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The UI LGBTQ Resource Center has renamed itself the Pride Alliance Center in order to be more inclusive of diverse sexual and gender identities, as well as to clarify the purpose of the center.

Alex Bare, the outreach director of Spectrum UI, a LGBTQ student organization on campus, said the LGBTQ abbreviation is not fully inclusive of all sexualities and gender identities.

“There is constantly a need to edit and amend the abbreviation that is used to describe a very diverse community,” Bare said. “Because there is an ever-evolving concept of identity, and we don’t know how long we’re going to be using LGBTQ, perhaps it’s better if we use an all-encompassing term like pride.”

Pride Alliance Center Director Emma Welch said the center would also frequently receive calls confusing the Pride Alliance Center with the UI LGBTQ clinic.

The Pride Alliance Center, located at 125 Grand Ave. Court, opened in 2006.

“We wanted to increase the clarity of the purpose of the space for the resource center,” Welch said. “We had, for instance, a lot of folks calling in who were confusing us with the LGBTQ clinic on campus, which can be problematic for several reasons. Although we would never share information from callers who phoned in, we’re not a confidential entity.”

RELATED: UI earns 4 out of 5 stars for LGBTQ friendliness

Tabitha Wiggins, the assistant director of Multicultural & International Programs, said the conversation to change the name began with students who frequently use the Pride Alliance Center.

There is constantly a need to edit and amend the abbreviation that is used to describe a very diverse community.”

“I would come into the space and say, ‘What do you think about the name?’ and ask students who use the space,” Wiggins said. “Our student staff were getting a lot of phone calls. There were a couple incidents in which the center was targeted for some harassing behavior. That was one of the first thing that prompted the conversation about the name. We didn’t understand how folks could see our center as other than what it is, and it came back to the name being potentially problematic.”

Welch and Wiggins said that many other universities are moving away from the LGBTQ abbreviation for their resource centers. The University of Northern Iowa recently changed its LGBT* Center to Gender and Sexuality Services. Wiggins said most other Big Ten universities have made similar name changes, as well.

Colin Lakadat, the UI Student Government constituency senator for LGBTQ, said the name change is a positive change.

“The LGBTQ+ community is one that is constantly evolving and changing throughout time,” Lakadat said in an email to The Daily Iowan. “[In] order to keep up to speed with the changing times and to be as inclusive as possible, removing the abbreviation LGBTQ+ but allowing the queer context to remain is a good way for the center to evolve yet keep its purpose whole.”

RELATED: Students find home away from home thanks to UI cultural center coordinators

Welch said the name change has sparked positive reception from members of the UI LGBTQ community.

“I think it’s pretty cool we have already been getting emails from students, and staff, and faculty who are excited about the name change,” Welch said. “They have [said] that they feel more included in the new name, and so that’s been awesome to know that we are serving campus in the way that they want to be served.”

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