LGBTQ Office finds home in Swing Space

For the first time since its founding in 2009, the Office of LGBTQ Resources has a physical space on campus.

The LGBTQ Office has moved into the first floor of Swing Space, an area it will share with the Office of Gender & Campus Culture and the Alcohol & Other Drugs Harm-Reduction Initiative. Office of LGBTQ Resources Director Maria Trumpler GRD ’92 said she hopes the space will give her office a stable meeting and event area and foster a sense of community for LGBTQ students. Andrew Dowe ’08 GRD ’16, assistant director for the office, said the new location reflects a “monumental shift” in increased administrative support since his undergraduate years at Yale.

“When I first arrived, without this direct administrative support, faculty members … were triple-burdened with fighting for LGBTQ studies, their own academic work and supporting LGBTQ students,” Dowe said. “It’s nice that now there are more resources and [the programs have] more secure footing.”

Trumpler said the office had plans to move into a physical location before the onset of the 2008 economic recession, but she added that the strain on University finances caused all non-essential building projects to be canceled at the time.

With its new location, Trumpler said her faculty office will no longer be hampered by the logistical struggles it faced without a permanent space, adding that she hopes the first floor of Swing Space will serve a similar purpose as cultural houses, where students are able to socialize, study or relax.

“It’s important for [the new office] to exist because when coming out for the first time, it’s not easy to meet people or identify those with similar experiences, and not everyone is interested in joining a specific identity group,” said Kati Moug ’13, an Office of LGBTQ Resources staff member.

Moug said the LGBTQ peer liaisons currently staff a facility at 305 Crown St. called the Queer Resource Center, which she described as being too small and far from campus to be a popular communal location.

The two other groups that are moving into Swing Space — the Office of Gender & Campus Culture and the Alcohol & Other Drugs Harm-Reduction Initiative — underwent no substantial changes, other than that both were given formal names, which Hannah Peck DIV ’11, a Yale College Dean’s Office fellow who staffs the initiative, said reflects the programs’ rapid growth in recent years.

The three offices work on separate projects, but staff members said they foresee a harmonious relationship in sharing the space. Trumpler said the three staff members of the Office of Gender & Campus Culture and the AOD Harm-Reduction Initiative will primarily use the space during the workday and the Office of LGBTQ Resources will host events there after-hours and on weekends.

“The space was initially offered for [the Office of LGBTQ Resources] which hosts a lot of events,” said Melanie Boyd ’90, assistant dean of student affairs. “Then it was a question of good partner initiatives to be alongside.”

The Swing Space facility will now host the offices of Trumpler, Boyd, Peck and YCDO Fellow Garrett Fiddler ’11.

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