Change has been one of few constants throughout the history of the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center (GSCC), UW–Madison’s home for its LGBTQ+ community and repository of LGBTQ+ educational resources and programming for all students, faculty, staff, and community members. From names, to directors, to the physical spaces it has occupied on or off campus, the GSCC has undergone its fair share of reinvention and revolution in its time. The result is nothing shy of beautiful.
The tradition of change is an integral part of the GSCC’s success story. In 1992, it debuted as the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Campus Center in an off-campus complex in downtown Madison. Today, the GSCC honors its humble beginnings by quite literally plastering its history across its walls while growing to accommodate a thriving community in an accessible and light-filled space in the Red Gym — at the physical heart of campus and proximate to natural partners like the Multicultural Student Center.
“I think that the [GSCC] having started way back in the day as an off-campus office and then now being in the Red Gym, which is close to the other cultural centers and the cultural hub of campus, is incredibly important,” says Gabe Javier, associate vice chancellor for student affairs in the areas of identity and inclusion and former director of the GSCC. “[It’s] centering those voices of LGBTQ+ students and continuing to do that in a way that is intersectional, cutting edge, and can be a benchmark for other LGBTQ+ campus centers across the nation.”
Another of the few things that remain the same at the GSCC is its tireless commitment to serving its community by adapting to meet the ever-evolving needs of the people it supports. Once dependent on renting space to other organizations to afford its own, the GSCC now hosts fellow organizations in its expanded space, supporting others’ work as early partners did for it. It houses private rooms for students to receive drop-in mental health care. It provides resources for transition care and navigating preferred names and pronouns. It holds workshops and discussion groups for queer and trans people of color. It offers a Discord server on which students can connect 24/7. It celebrates Rainbow Graduation and Pride Prom. It is a center in the truest sense of the word: the center of a community, and a place to become centered, as well.
To celebrate its upcoming 30th anniversary, take a look back through time at the GSCC’s early iterations, and tour its current space below.