The Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center is becoming one of the most essential resources for students to learn about the LGBTQ+ community and get support.
Founded in 1995, GIESORC was the first resource center of its kind in Washington state and is one of the oldest LGBTQ+ centers in the country, GIESORC director Matthew Jeffries said.
The goal of GIESORC is not only to support queer students but to teach students what it means to be an ally, Jeffries said.
“We have a community from the center in a way that is so goddamn special that I go to my office and I tear up,” GIESORC coordinator Maureen Smith said.
Her experience with the GIESORC community has been unlike any she has worked with before. Smith said she met some of the most amazing students and faculty during her time there.
“What do I like about the community?” she said. “Good heart, genuine affection and friendship, caring beyond themselves, seeing that they’re part of a whole.”
GIESORC is based upon three values: education, engagement and equity, Jeffries said.
The center strives to achieve equity through greater community inclusion not only for LGBTQ+ students but also for the general equity of everyone, he said.
“One big thing that we’re really excited about this year is to get pronouns on class rosters and Cougar Cards,” Jeffries said.
GIESORC puts on programming for WSU staff, faculty and Greek life as well to help inform the community about queer inclusion, he said.
“About 16 to 17 percent of our student body identifies in the LGBTQ community,” Jeffries said.
GIESORC offers one-on-one consultations with faculty members to help them figure out how they can best support LGBTQ+ students. The center can help students with the process of changing their legal name and getting started with hormone replacement therapy through Cougar Health Services, he said.
GIESORC also works with WSU Housing to inform resident advisers and staff about how to respect members of the LGBTQ+ community, Jeffries said.
The center encourages students to take advantage of the resources available on- and off-campus, he said.
“What really counts is having that exchange and getting real,” he said, “building bridges not putting up dams or walls.”
The center welcomes people of all sexual and gender orientations to come to room 401 in the Compton Union Building to relax, mingle, do homework and learn more about the community. The office is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Jeffries said.
“It feels like nature has healed, like people are back, there’s voices,” he said. “It’s so great when I get to go out of my office and hang out and chat.”
For more information on GIESORC and the resources available, check out its website.