University Secretary Kimberly Goff-Crews joined Yale Office of LGBTQ Resources Director Maria Trumpler GRD ’92 in cutting a rainbow ribbon on Tuesday as part of the grand opening of the office’s new facility on Prospect Street.
Housed with the Office of Gender and Campus Culture in Baker Hall for the last five years, the office moved over the summer to its new location on the first floor of Founder’s Hall at 135 Prospect St., across from Pauli Murray College. Tuesday’s event welcomed visitors from the Yale administration, faculty and student body into the new and larger space and marked a significant turning point for the office’s presence on campus.
In remarks prior to the ribbon-cutting, Goff-Crews described the vision the administration seeks to accomplish by moving the center to a new location.
“This celebrates a new stage for what we are trying to do for the LGBTQ community,” she said. “We recognize in the administration and in the University as a whole that it’s really important to both embrace and celebrate people as they are when they come to us and to honor and celebrate them as they become who they are going to be when they leave us.”
Also present at the ceremony were Voke Spoken Word members Sara McCartney ’19 and Miranda Rector ’20, who performed a poem co-written with Lola Hourihane ’20 in honor of the occasion. Moving forward, Voke Spoken Word will use the new space for its meetings.
Trumpler followed with her own remarks, thanking people who made the relocation possible and describing her hopes and expectations for the office’s future.
“This is a space that is a shell. We need to fill it with energy,” she said. “We want all of you to feel comfortable here, we want you to bring your ideas, we want it to be a space where you get energized … we really need you.”
The new location features programming space with audio-visual capabilities and a fully equipped kitchen, as well as the office’s first dedicated drop-in lounge area, open daily from noon until 10 p.m. Along with the new physical updates, the office will be hosting new programming this year, including brunches, potlucks and tea dances.
Office of LGBTQ Resources Associate Director Andrew Dowe ’08 described the lounge space as a casual, relaxed setting for studying and socializing “where people can go and be 100 percent sure that they’ll be able to express their sexual and gender identities without judgment [or] hostile questioning.”
Dowe said it was incredible to see a model similar to that of Yale’s cultural centers being expanded and applied to the LGBTQ community as well, “especially in this political moment.”
JP Kenney ’20, an office staffer who is also active in the LGBTQ Student Cooperative at Yale, expressed excitement about the new space, calling it “much nicer” than its predecessor.
“Being able to physically be here makes me realize how useful the Office of LGBTQ Resources is, because it seemed very inaccessible last year given how inaccessible the space was,” Kenney said, adding that it is exciting to be at Yale for the change.
Still, Kenney said it would also be nice to see an increase in funding for the office and more administrative support for other LGBTQ issues at Yale, such as providing pronoun information on class rosters.
“It’s nice when we can celebrate and aren’t always protesting or angry,” Trumpler said of the ribbon-cutting. Yale’s progress on LGBTQ issues has been heartening in a time when the national political landscape under Trump has been unsympathetic to the LGBTQ community, she added.
The old Baker Hall space will be converted into housing for Yale Law School students beginning in 2018.
Asha Prihar | email@example.com