This program received the 2019 Social Justice Award at the Michigan Difference Student Leadership Award ceremony.
The LGBTQ Peer-Led Support Group (PLSG) is a weekly, drop-in and confidential group for survivors who identify as LGBTQ to express concerns and find support among peers in a comfortable setting facilitated by student staff. The group offers semi-structured activities, self-care practices and safe space for sharing if individuals choose to do so, and is open to all survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, and stalking. The LGBTQ Peer-Led Support Group is supported in collaboration with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) and the Spectrum Center.
Mentorship and Personal/Professional Support (MaPPS) aims to engage LGBTQ staff and faculty in both formal and informal mentorship roles. LGBTQ+ students may come in with personal concerns or goals in addition to engaging in professional and academic discussions with their mentor. In contrast to advising, we would like to see mentors motivate mentees by recognizing mentees’ strengths and accomplishments, help mentees sharpen skills or improve their capability, and guide mentees’ decision-making process.
60 new mentors
55 mentor/mentee pairings
12 training hours
Togetherness: QTIPOC Dinners
Togetherness: QTIPOC Dinners is a dinner series that provides an affinity space by and for Queer and Transgender Indigenous and People of Color (QTIPOC). Dinner hosts typically consist of QTIPOC staff, faculty, and community members around the University of Michigan and aim to provide an opportunity for sharing and exploring students’ lives and experiences within supportive spaces defined by membership in racial or ethnic minority groups. These dinners are made possible with the collaboration of the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA).
“I felt so happy after the event. It was really just what I needed and I’m so thankful for everyone for allowing me to be there.”
The Spectrum Empowerment Leadership Retreat (SELR) is a leadership retreat customized for LGBTQ students at the University of Michigan (U-M). This one-day retreat provides leadership competencies, derived from MLEAD’s core competencies, for students to thrive and build resilience on the U-M campus and beyond. In addition to gaining skills related to building community and resilience, participants also gain a stronger awareness of self and develop the tools to help them navigate different environments. Participants will engage in community-building activities, dialogue, storytelling, and self-reflection. The majority of the retreat will be led by trained Peer Facilitators and participants will have the opportunity to explore and learn about different on and off-campus resources.
Thank you to our donors! Your financial gifts make the work at the Spectrum Center in support of students and the U-M community possible. We are excited to announce that we are expanding our development efforts in preparation for the 50th Anniversary celebrations which will include a year-long, campus-wide series of events. The Spectrum Center was the first LGBTQ center on a college campus in the U.S. Please help us continue to make a difference and lead across the country in support of LGBTQ students and initiatives.
Transgender Day of Visibility Passport Day (SSW)
In collaboration with the School of Social Work Global Studies Office of Global Activities, Spectrum Center was able to provide transgender students with a one-stop-shop location to apply for, renew, or change their passport.
Pride Outside (CSG and oSTEM)
Pride Outside is a signature event during Welcome to Michigan Week in which LGBTQ students can find LGBTQ-related student organizations and community groups around Ann Arbor, MI. This event is focused on creating an inclusive welcome to first-year and returning queer and transgender students in the fall semester.
LGBTQ Graduate Student events (Rackham Graduate School)
Every year, the Spectrum Center plans a series of events specifically dedicated to LGBTQ graduate students. The partnership with Rackham Graduate School provides financial and knowledge-based resources regarding the needs of graduate students at U-M.
LGBTQ Monologues (Out in Public)
The LGBTQ Monologues started a few years ago and was founded by student leaders. This event highlights different narratives and lived-experience within the LGBTQ community bringing awareness and education to people in the audience.
Queer Career Closet (University Career Center)
This event centers trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming folx and will allow students a chance to explore the Career Center's professional clothing closet in a safe, inclusive environment. Additionally, the Spectrum Center acted as a consultant in making the career closet more affirming to gender-inclusive practices.
Spectrum Center was honored and privileged to receive support from various on-campus offices and colleagues in bringing prestigious keynote speakers covering topics related to LGBTQ lived experiences. The Center is deeply grateful for such a supportive partnership and solidarity.
- Ronni Sanlo (LGBTQ History month, National Coming Out Week - October 2018)
- Reyna Ortiz (Transgender Awareness Week - November 2018)
- Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (LGBTQ Health & Wellness Week - February 2019)
- Ignacio Rivera (LGBTQ Health & Wellness Week - February 2019)
On February 18, 2019, around 50 students gathered in the School of Social Work to hear LGBTQ social activist, writer and artist, Ignacio Rivera speak as the keynote of the Spectrum Center’s annual LGBTQ+ Health & Wellness Week. Click here to read media coverage of the event.
Spectrum Center offers workshops for a variety of audiences coming from a variety of familiarity with LGBTQ content. We tailor workshop content to the specific needs of your classroom or organization based on the learning objectives of the workshop being requested.
24 workshop sessions
528 workshop attendees
Allyhood Development Training
The Spectrum Center's LGBTQ Allyhood Development Training Program, started in 2005, seeks to support an individual or organization’s process of development as it relates to LGBTQ inclusivity and advocacy. Allyhood Development Training (ADT) uses a social justice framework to illustrate the lived experiences of LGBTQ identified people to workshop participants.
U-M DEI Innovation Grant recipient Fall 2019 - $1,500 MaPPS
With the establishment of the DEI Innovation fund, supported by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, these grants aim to support faculty, staff and student projects that advance an innovative approach to DEI opportunities and challenges at the University of Michigan. Spectrum Center was awarded seed money to support a new initiative - Mentorship and Personal/Professional Support (MaPPS) - connecting LGBTQ faculty and staff with LGBTQ students in a mentorship capacity.
U-M Campus Suicide Prevention grant recipient Fall 2018 - $5,000
The U-M Campus Suicide Prevention grant is funded by the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (Section 520E-2 of the Public Health Service Act, as amended). Signed into law on October 21, 2004, the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (GLSMA) was named in memory of Senator Gordon H Smith’s son, Garrett, who died by suicide on September 8, 2003. The bill was authored by a bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress intent on curbing the rate of youth suicide in the United States. Administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), GLS grants are intended to reduce suicide in our nation’s young people (ages 10-24) by building prevention capacity in states, federally recognized tribal regions, and college campuses.
Funding has allowed the Center to impact over 1,246 U-M students through 45 events that included bringing in keynote speakers, funding students to attend national conferences, and continuing the LGBTQ graduation celebration (Lavender Graduation) now in it’s 24th year. The Gadawski Callam Project-Based Grant helped ten students turn their visions into realities that are identifying and addressing gaps in access from health care practices to the intersectionality of LGBTQ issues with race and ethnicity.
The Gadawski Callam Project-Based Grant is a funding opportunity for students who are looking to implement projects that seek to improve the experiences and climate of LGBTQ communities. The intent of this initiative is to create opportunities for U-M students to transform policies and practices on campus, in the community, and on a national scale. It is also an opportunity for applicants to invest in skills and knowledge that may contribute to their leadership development.
$16,298.70 in funding distributed
Project Spotlight #1: Queens of Paradise
Applicant Profile: Layla Abdul-Jabbar is graduating with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in animation from the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. Layla has spent two years working for the Spectrum Center as a graphic designer shaping the Center’s branding and visibility. While at the U-M, Layla has created several art projects surrounding bisexuality as well as queer people of color experiences in society. Layla is involved with the local “Do It Yourself” community and her work is representative of this aesthetic, discussing intersectionality between topics such as mental health, queer theory, and racial/religious inequalities. She finds inspiration from club kids, body horror, and Islamic architecture.
Proposed Project Impact: Queens of Paradise acts as proof of our existence and history to Muslims who are homophobic as well as gay people who are Islamophobic. I’ve been searching for more information on mukhannathun, but the research on this topic is pretty bare. Although this makes things harder for me, it motivates me to spearhead interest in the subject and conduct my own research. It’s so healing to know that my place in my religion is valid and respected, and it’s empowering to see that represented in a beautiful and lively way.
Timeline of Project: Completed by May 2019
Funding Amount Granted: $2,500.00
Project Spotlight #2: Queer and Trans Lab
Applicant Profile: Nina Jackson Levin is a second-year doctoral student in the Joint Ph.D. Program in Social Work and Anthropology. Her research emphasizes care practices in the family setting. In particular, she foregrounds families that run counter to 'normative' narratives of what a family is and should be. This research focuses on queer families, families who have lost members to illness or death, families who have been reorganized by historical trauma or state-based interventions. In each of these contexts, she draws from queer theory as she works to "queer kinship" for both a theoretical and practice-based context. She loves working collaboratively across disciplines, age groups, and personal/professional expertise to achieve these goals. In her spare time, she loves noodles in all forms, dogs, stand-up comedy, and hot tubs.
Proposed Project Impact: The Q/T Lab aims to produce original research by and for LGBTQIA2S+ individuals and communities within and beyond U-M. While many vibrant groups on campus exist to centralize the needs, strengths, rights, and challenges of queer and trans people, there is no awareness of an established research lab - in any unit let alone the School of Social Work - that does this through the production and circulation of original academic research. The goal is to incorporate the support of the Gadawski Callam Project Based Funding as seed funding to establish a bonafide lab that tackles queer and trans-related topics on a small scale so that we may later apply for grants that fund research projects and labs at a larger scale. Dr. Shanna Kattari, who has recently joined the School of Social Work faculty, has expressed a commitment to forging a trans pipeline into the academic by creating spaces that invite the expertise of queer on trans folks. She has been instrumental in supporting our student-led initiative to co-create such an academic space. The hope is to be able to make a lasting impact on the research activities within and beyond the School of Social Work as they relate to queer and trans studies.
Timeline of Project: Completed by December 2019
Funding Amount Granted: $3,000.00
Project Spotlight #3: TRANSforming Healthcare: An Examination of Cisnormativity in Primary Care
Applicant Profile: Mari is a graduating senior who is extremely passionate about social justice and addressing health disparities that impact queer and trans people of color. As an undergraduate student they studied Gender and Health with a minor in Community Action and Social Change. They're continuing their higher educational journey by pursuing a Masters in Social Work and Public Health. Mari is currently conducting research for an honors thesis that examines how cisnormativity impacts trans experiences within primary healthcare. They plan to publish this work in hopes of proposing interventions to primary healthcare that would make practices more inclusive to trans identities.
Proposed Project Impact: Primary healthcare values cisgender bodies over transgender bodies. Health clinics operate under a cisgender until proven guilty basis. This phenomenon is referred to as cisnormativity, where being cisgender is the societal norm and transness must be marked in order to be acknowledged. Cisnormativity enables primary healthcare practices that marginalize transgender patients. This thesis aims to document how cisnormativity shows up in primary healthcare and impacts transgender patients’ experiences. Within interviews, transgender people recount experiences within primary care and explore how those experiences influence the way they seek care, which using a trans analytic, will examine how cisnormativity shapes those experiences. The ultimate goal of this work is to disrupt cisnormativity by centering transgender experiences in proposing potential interventions. This project centers trans and gender nonconforming experiences, and challenges the medical field to do interdisciplinary work by applying a trans studies framework to the progress and innovation of medicine. The core goal of this project is to make healthcare more inclusive for trans folks, and minimize the harm these spaces create.
Timeline of Project: Completed by April 2019
Funding Amount Granted: $425.00
Project Spotlight #4: Student Delegation to Creating Change Conference (partnership with CSG)
This year, Spectrum Center brought 20 students to the largest LGBTQ Conference in the nation, Creating Change Conference. The conference housed educational sessions, affinity space for members of the LGBTQ communities, and community building programming. This delegation was made possible by the Central Student Government, and Dan and Ted Gadawski Callam.
The Spectrum Center Enrichment Grant offers funding assistance to student organizations and units/departments at U-M that pay forward the experiences, awareness, and improvement of LGBTQ communities on campus.
14 organizations received funding
UMMA, Sexual and Gender Diversity in Public Health, Social Work, Creatives of Color, Out in Public, OSCR, Black Student Union, MCSP, SAPAC Core, LGBT Michigan, Yoni Ki Baat (YKB), Redefine, Reproductive Rights & Justice, NOiR RUNWAY FASHION.
14 events co-sponsored
Tunde Olaniran Performance, Fall Mixer, Juliana Huxtable Visit, Minority Muslims in the Media, LGBTQ Monologues, Statement Amendment, Black LGBTQ Mixer, Circle of Unity MLK Day, Valentine's Day event, Navigating Grad School for LGBTQ+ Students, YKB 2019 Spring Show: MASTERPIECE, LINK, Japanese Supreme Court on Transgender Forced-Sterilization, Support Fashion show 2019.
$2,333.00 in funding distributed
The University of Michigan has several scholarship opportunities available to students. Each year, Spectrum Center awards two scholarships to students who have demonstrated significant impact in the LGBTQ communities through volunteer work.
Chris Armstrong Scholarship
The Chris Armstrong Scholarship was established in 2011 to benefit undergraduate students leaders who support LGBTQ initiatives on campus. Named after the first openly gay student-elected president of the Central Student Government, the Scholarship seeks to bring students to U-M who show courage in the face of bullying.
Funding will be awarded to a recipient in August 2019.
John D. Evans Foundation Scholarship
The John D. Evans Foundation Scholarship was established in 2019 to support U-M students who are making a positive impact on the LGBTQ community globally. The Foundation, made possible by John D. Evans and Steve Wozencraft, is built on the pillars of advocacy and actions on AIDS and cancer research, as well as the protection of the environment.
John D. Evans Foundation Scholarship Recipient
$1,000.00 in funding distributed
Carmelita Perrien Naccarato is a rising junior at U-M. Coming from Idaho, she was seeking opportunities and acceptance. She has found both during her time here and has worked to help others with backgrounds like hers find the same. A Public Health Sciences major, she works to correct inequities in our communities and hopes to do the same as a future physician. When not in class, she spends her time giving back to the community and volunteering with local organizations working with sexual assault survivors, the LatinX or immigrant communities, and the LGBTQ population on campus.
The Programming Board is a volunteer leadership opportunity, with graduate and undergraduate students selected through application and interview. The Programming Board will plan their own events and support for all signature events including LGBTQ Welcome Festival, Trans Awareness Week, LGBTQ Health and Wellness Week, and Lavender Graduation.
“I have made some of the best connections and friendships through Spectrum’s Programming Board. I know this group of people always sets out to provide a warm, welcoming, accepting space for everyone. I feel like I can be my authentic self and be supported.”
9 events planned
GPS (Guidance - Perspective - Support) is a tool for LGBTQ and similarly-identified students to utilize as they are navigating their understanding of their identities. The GPS Program provides students with Guidance toward helpful information and resources, Perspective of a fellow student who has experience with coming out, and Support around their identity development.
“To make a real-life connection with someone who has had a transgender-identity, especially to ask how they overcame some struggles I'm dealing with.”
35 new GPS mentors
20 mentor/mentee pairings
24th Annual Lavender Graduation
Lavender Graduation took place on Thursday, May 2, 2019, at the Trotter Multicultural Center building on S. State Street. The celebration is a vibrant event where the accomplishments and contributions of LGBTQ U-M graduates are acknowledged. With standing room only, this year's celebration featured the GradTones, remarks by Vice President for Student Life E. Royster Harper, and a keynote address by Esther Newton, Class of 1962, who was bestowed with an Honorary Lavender Degree. Check out the photo gallery.
Spectrum Center wishes the over 80 graduates in attendance and the many more who were unable to attend a world of success. All alumni are encouraged to stay connected through the LGBTQ Alumni Association at the University of Michigan.
Special thanks to Dan and Ted Gadawski Callam for their generous gift, which has allowed Lavender Graduation to continue celebrating our growing numbers of LGBTQ graduates.
Carmelita Perrien Naccarato
Roman Christiaens, Assistant Director for Learning and Development
Mark Chung Kwan Fan, Assistant Director for Engagement
Elizabeth González, Program Manager for Education and Training
Kaden Hyvonen, Office Coordinator
Henry Mochida, Communications Specialist
G Ryan, Program Specialist for Education and Training
Will Sherry, Director
Raivynn Smith, Program Specialist for Events and Partnerships