(BOWIE, Md.)-Bowie State University is set to open the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Allies (LGBTQIA) Resource Center during a grand opening event on Monday, April 2. The center is the first of its kind at a public Historically Black College or University (HBCU), and will provide information, counseling and a "safe space" for LGBT students.
The grand opening will take place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in suite 301 of the Martin Luther King Jr. Building, the center's permanent home. Donna Payne, associate director of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT civil rights organization, will be the keynote speaker. The event is open to Bowie State students, faculty and staff.
"Opening a center like this at Bowie State is significant because HBCUs usually don't want to address LGBT issues," says Dr. Adrian Krishnasamy, director of the Resource Center and assistant professor in the Department of Communications. "It also gives Bowie State's LGBT community visibility. Now that we're visible, we can arm people with knowledge and fight ignorance."
The goal of the center is to educate Bowie State students, faculty and staff about issues related to sexual orientation and provide a supportive, welcoming environment for LGBT students and allies. After the grand opening event, the center will operate Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Resource Center visitors will have access to a library of LGBT educational materials, computers and a student meeting space. A trained counselor, Bowie State's Dr. Aquila Mitchell, will be available to provide counseling services. Workshops and programs designed to raise campus awareness about issues related to sexual orientation are planned for the future.
"It troubles me that many students, particularly African-American students, are afraid to discuss their issues with sexual identity and that's who we want to reach," says Dr. Krishnasamy. "We want people to feel comfortable with who they are."
For more information about the LGBTQIA Resource Center, please contact Dr. Krishnasamy at email@example.com or 301-860-3706.
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