Cece Hampton ’24
Wondering where all the chalk artwork came from on the Long Walk a few weeks ago? In honor of October being LGBTQ+ History month, Trinity College’s Queer Resource Center (QRC) continued its 25 yearlong annual tradition of chalk drawing around campus. The Tripod sat down with three members of the QRC to learn more about the center and its role on campus. We spoke with Aaron Kowals ’25, Nora Bryda ’25, and Amber Gray ’26.
Nora described the QRC as “a safe space for the queer students and queer allies on campus.” They aim to work with queer community partners, clubs, and other organizations in departments of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to foster relations between different minorities. The center is located at 114 Crescent St. and offers a library, kitchen, and a “safe room” for individuals in extenuating housing circumstances to stay in. The QRC also provides basic sexual education such as STD prevention, and the staff holds regular office hours. Additionally, the center hosts events like brunches, community discussions to spread education and awareness, partnerships with queer and trans NPOC faculty on campus, and they always provide a reception with food after. Aaron said, “We’re a space for everyone, and we like to feed everyone.” Additionally, the QRC partners with other groups on campus like the Hillel House, hosting events like “Rainbow Shabbat,” which is a queer focused Shabbat where they make rainbow challah bread. All of these events are open to everyone, not just queer students.
As a participant in the National Campus Climate Assessment for LGBTQ+ Life, Trinity currently has a campus climate score of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Some of the contributing factors to this high score are freshman access to gender inclusive housing, the insurance plan offered by the college that covers gender affirming healthcare such as gender therapy and queer counseling, and connections with staff of many different backgrounds, including an “out in STEM” chapter. Aaron stressed the importance of Trinity’s strides to create an inclusive environment, especially considering issues that do not necessarily pertain to a majority of students. Both Aaron and Amber agreed that being in an environment like this is a “culture shock” from what they are used to back home, Oklahoma and Delaware, respectively, calling the atmosphere here “refreshing.”
Connecticut is considered to be a “trans safe-haven,” and one of the safest states for transgender people. Despite this, Aaron, Amber, and Nora all recognize that Trinity still has a lot of work to do in order to improve the quality of life on campus for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Nora explained that “not every student fits into the algorithm used by the school.” Issues remain with housing options, as students can only identify themselves as either male or female in the housing portal. Additionally, when Trinity emails individuals about housing or financial aid, the email includes a student’s parents, which can “out” students who have not yet come out to their parents. Overall, in order for Trinity to improve its support for members of the LGBTQ+ community and other minorities on campus, the QRC believes that we need to replace existing infrastructures to be more accommodating to them and for these changes to be made faster. Nora explained, “We are the guinea pigs for the algorithm right now, and we are the group it is being tested on. It sucks now, but in the next 5 years, the queer students who come on campus will have a better experience because of the changes we are making now.”
The QRC encourages all students to visit its center on campus, not just queer students. Aaron said, “We want this space to be used,” with Nora adding that, “it’s supposed to be for queers and allies.” Amber concluded by saying, “think of the QRC as your grandma who will always feed you but is also very gay.”