Queer and Trans Student Initiatives

About Queer and Trans Student Initiatives

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At Roger Williams, we work with and support students to raise awareness and acceptance of the various communities that make up our larger queer and trans community (for example; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual, or questioning communities). Through the Intercultural Center (IC) we offer a direct resource area for all members of the queer and trans communities and their allies. The office is a key component in implementing RWU's examination of our global society.

Roger Williams University is committed to ensuring our queer and trans students, faculty, staff, and administrators are protected on campus. Sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are included in our University Non-Discrimination Policy

Assistant Director of Queer and Trans Student Initiatives, Gabby Porcaro.

Roger Williams' efforts to support our queer and trans student are lead by the Assistant Director for Queer and Trans Student Initiatives, Gabby Porcaro (she/her/hers), M.A.Ed. (pictured above). Gabby joined the RWU community in August, 2017 and has worked to apply a "trickle up social justice" approach to all of her work. 

Roger Williams, with leadership from Gabby Porcaro, seeks to create a safe and affirming campus environment for our queer and trans communities through:

  • Creating a welcoming environment for all people interested in developing their understanding of queer and trans issues
  • Helping students to build communities of care, inclusion, support and trust
  • Recognizing and exploring the ability, age, ethnicity, gender, health, language, national origin, race, religion and socioeconomic differences in the queer and trans student population
  • Celebrating how differences in the queer and trans student population can enrich campus and local communities
  • Providing direct service to queer and trans students and their allies in the forms of advising, advocacy, referral, education and training, event sponsorship and co-sponsorship and leadership development
  • Providing resources to faculty, staff, University offices and others interested in ensuring that their services are inclusive and supportive of queer and trans issues
  • Conducting on-going needs assessment, campus climate assessments and regular evaluations of the Office and its services

Queer and Trans Resource and Advocacy Center

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Three students sitting in the QTRAC; two are laughing together and one is doing homework.

The Queer and Trans Resource and Advocacy Center (QTRAC) is located in the heart of RWU's campus, adjacent to the 9, 10, 11 Tower of Maple Hall. The QTRAC houses our LGBTQIAP+ student organization, the Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) and two clubs that are committed to various issues facing womyn in the world, FEM Society and the Women's Collective.

The QTRAC is an extension of the Intercultural Center and shares in its commitment to anti-racist, anti-ableist, and social justice centered programming. As a new space, the QTRAC is dedicated to centering queerness by promoting gender equity and fostering deeper learning with regard to the full spectrum of romantic and sexual orientations.

Gender equity once referred solely to equity for cisgender women in a world that privileges cisgender men. Today, gender equity speaks to work that uplifts and centers the voices and the needs of our transgender communities in all of our work towards ending genderism, trans oppression, and heterosexism on our campus. Additionally, by centering queerness in our understanding of romantic and sexual orientations, the QTRAC is well positioned to create opportunities to make tangible changes towards challenging heteronormativity on our campus.

The span of individuals and communities that do not identify with normative understandings of gender identity and romantic and sexual orientations are vast. There are deep complexities, yet beauty, in our knowledge and awareness of these various communities. We trust that, over time, the work of our team and our students will help to establish new cultural norms that will pave a clear path toward progress and positive campus culture for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender noncomforming, non-binary, queer, intersex, asexual, aromantic, demisexual, pansexual, and queer students, faculty, and staff.

Mission Statement

As an extension of Roger Williams University’s Intercultural Center, the QTRAC serves as the central hub for individual students, student clubs, and University organizations that are dedicated to advancing gender equity and undoing heteronormativity on and off campus though programming, support, and co-curricular projects.

The Kinship Collective

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Two students laughing together in front of their computers.

 

This mentor program matches undergraduate students with members of our faculty and staff who identify as queer or trans people. We believe in the power of forming connections with individuals who have a shared or similar identity as one that is salient to us, particularly in developing a sense of belonging within a new community.

Mentors and mentees can meet as frequently as both individuals deem necessary. Additionally, there will be three all program socials throughout the Fall 2019 semester so you can meet other mentors/mentees and continue to build connections here at Roger. We ask our mentees to commit to being involved with the program for one academic year.

If you are interested in being one of our mentees, please click here! If you are interested in being one of our mentors, please click here!

Safe Zone Program

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                                                    Queer pride themed decorations with a book cover reading "Love is all you need."

The Safe Zone Program is designed to educate administrators, staff, faculty, and students about the experiences and concerns of queer and trans members of our community as well as provide tools for creating supportive environments for queer and trans people.

Click here to learn more about the Safe Zone program at RWU or to register for a training!

Student Involvement, Support, and Advocacy

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The Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) is a student organization comprised of queer and trans identified students and their allies that is dedicated to promoting a better understanding of and awareness for queer and trans issues on and off campus. SAGA hosts a number of events throughout the academic year including RWU Coming Out Week, Trans Week of Remembrance, World AIDS Day Drag Bingo, and Pride Week. If you are interested in learning more about the club or getting involved with SAGA, please contact the executive board at saga@g.rwu.edu

The Trans Affinity Group (TAG) is a student coordinated support group on campus. The students meet once a week to build community and join in fellowship with one another. The students also have outings off campus periodically throughout the academic year. To learn more about TAG, please contact the TAG coordinator at tag@g.rwu.edu.

Lavender Graduation

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In May 2018, the Intercultural Center hosted Roger Williams' inaugural Lavender Graduation. Lavender Graduations happen at universities throughout the country and serve as an inspiring and affirming way for us to celebrate the successes of our queer and trans students. This event creates space for our LGBTQ+ students, their families, and their friends to gather one last time and to reflect on their growth throughout their time here at Roger. To learn more about the first ceremony at RWU, please click here!

Our second annual ceremony, featured in the video above, was held May 8, 2019. Friends and family celebrated 18 graduating students from RWU's Queer and Trans community.

Gender Inclusive Housing and Bathrooms

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At Roger Williams, we are constantly working to ensure that our trans students are provided safe and equitable living and learning experiences. The Department of Residence Life and Housing will work with each individual trans student to ensure they are assigned housing that is affirming of their gender identity and safe. We also offer two different Living-Learning communities for our queer and trans students; one exclusively for first year students and one exclusive for returning students. These two communities allow students to create systems of support in and out of the classroom and help to provide a comfortable and inclusive living space for our queer and trans students. If you have any concerns or questions about on campus housing as a queer or trans person, please reach out to Gabby Porcaro at gporcaro@rwu.edu.

In addition to our on campus housing, we also want to ensure that our students have a equitable access to safe bathrooms. Click here to see our campus map of all gender restrooms.

Queer and Trans Health Care and Initiatives

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On Campus Resources

We are deeply passionate about supporting the holistic health of our queer and trans students during their time on our campus. Both our Health Services team and our Counseling Center team at Roger have completed the University's Safe Zone training. Please click here to learn about Health Services initiatives and here to learn more about the Counseling Center. 

Off Campus Partnerships and Services

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Rhode Island is home to many incredible agencies, organizations, non-profits, and business that provide direct services to the queer and trans communities. These agencies work to address concerns such as access to mental health care, access to physical health care, access to hormones, sexual health screenings, legal name and gender marker changes, and many more. There are also organizations whose sole purpose is to help queer and trans folks build community with one another! Below are some of the agencies we are directly connected to:

  • Zencare - a user friendly platform that helps you find a therapist in the area.
  • Thundermist Health Center - a community health center with a specific focus on trans health care.
  • RI Public Health Institute - a community health clinic through the Miriam Hospital that specializes in STD preventive care at free to little cost to the patients. The Institute also provides free to low-cost STD screenings.
  • The Gender Clinic @ CNE Primary Care - a clinic to provide trans affirming health care to folks of all ages.
  • The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health - exactly what it sounds like! A community resource to help ensure you and your partners have safe and pleasure-centered experiences.
  • RI Legal Services - a legal service that looks into instances of discrimination against individuals of a low socioeconomic status. Their newest legal clinic focuses specifically on queer and trans people.
  • AIDS Project of Rhode Island - a direct provider of STI screenings as well as a wonderful community agency doing important activist work.
  • TGI Network of RI - a support and community building agency for trans folks, gender non-conforming folks, and intersex folks.
  • Butler Hospital - the True Self outpatient program works with queer and trans folks to address their mental health concerns in an affirming way.
  • Project Fearless - a community agency that provides financial support for queer and trans folks seeking mental health care. They also provide community building opportunities and are a great community activist group!
  • AS220 - a social justice organization that works to create a more just world through the arts.
  • Black and Pink - a community activist organization that works to defend queer and trans folks in our criminal justice system. They are also focused on prison abolition for all communities.