Tag Archives: gender and sexuality center

Name the Violence, End the Silence

Dear Editor,

I would like to address a piece that appeared in the April 10th issue of the University of San Francisco Foghorn. The article to which I am referring is “It Could Happen To You” featured in the News section. Though the segment was aimed at creating more awareness of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) on our campus, the reaction from many readers was negative due to the way the article presented SAAM.

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Lyricist Lounge Generates Self-Expression and Support within USF

Creative expression and great vibes were all in abundance last Friday evening for the semester’s first Lyricist Lounge. The event encourages students to express their thoughts, explore their identities, and engage in the power of community through Spoken Word poetry, singing, rapping, visual art, etc.

Over one hundred students attended this collective building and community-fostering event at the UC fourth floor last Friday.

Ciara Cici Swan, senior and coordinator of Lyricist Lounge, hopes this monthly event will bring more “love and higher energies vibrating from once idle souls.” By functioning as a free, accepting, and completely open environment, it invites a diverse group of students to speak their minds and enable open dialogue about their experiences
or feelings.

“The most beneficial aspect of Lyricist Lounge is that it includes creative individual expression along the basis of collective building and community-fostering,” Swan said. “They represent solitude and going against heteronormativity as well as function to embrace the negotiation of ‘-isms.’”

Due to immense enthusiasm for these events and growing awareness about its strength within the USF community, January’s Lyricist Lounge garnered one of the highest turnouts of the academic year so far. Many new performers came to showcase poems or songs they had written. The audience played a huge role at the event as those who didn’t perform were fully engaged by creating an empowering environment of support with cheering and enthusiasm for all performers.

Because of its growing success, Swan said Lyricist Lounge may become “one of those Friday kick-it spots on campus.” In her eyes, these evenings are “something new, recycled, composted.”

The next Lyricist Lounge will be held on Feb. 28th in the UC at 7 p.m. and due to Black History Month, the event will focus on exploring racial identities.

For more information, contact the Intercultural Center at:

Gender and Sexuality Center at: gsc@usfca.edu, or
USF’s Spoken Word club at:

It’s Transgender Awareness Week. Want to learn more?

The Gender and Sexuality Center Offers Students Resources and Information

transawarenessThe International Transgender Day of Remembrance is held on Nov 20 to commemorate those who have been killed due to anti-transgender prejudice. To honor this day, interns of The Gender & Sexuality Center (GSC) organize a Transgender Awareness Week, which takes place November 11-17.

Transgender Awareness Week is a chance for individuals and organizations around the world to help raise awareness of transgender and gender non-conforming people and the issues that they face.

In light of a recent attack on a gender non-conforming high school student in Oakland, Professor Barker-Plummer responded: “[We] need more education about gender fluidity and more sanctions for gender based hate behavior before it reaches the level of physical violence. Everyone should be safe to be in the world wearing any clothing we like.”

The (GSC), in conjunction with The Intercultural Center, is a place for students to explore issues regarding identity, social justice, and equality.

It’s also a place for students to hang out in a caring  and supportive environment in the multipurpose room in UC 412. Students can reserve the room for meetings, do their homework, and say hello to the Gender & Sexuality staff and interns.

GSC is located on UC 4th floor, and has a number of on and off campus, as well as, online resources for any students looking to learn more about various issues regarding gender and sexuality.

GSC hosts programs and events open to all “who wish to strive towards magis” — a Latin word that means “better” — as stated on the Center’s website.

The center also hosts weekly tablings to get students informed and aware of relevant issues.

Want to learn about the proper use of gender pronouns, and how to be trans-inclusive?


You can visit the Gender  & Sexuality table today in the caf on UC 2nd floor at 11am-12pm to learn more about gender binaries and the spaces between. 


“This helps expand what gender can mean,” said Alejandro Covarrubias, assistant director of Cultural Centers.

“It’s narrow, the way we think about ourselves as men and women. There’s a beauty in the trans community and in what they are exploring.”


To learn more about available resources and future events, check out GSC online, at: http://www.usfca.edu/gsc

You can also contact GSC at  (415) 422-4431 or by email, at: gsc@usfca.edu.


Being Queer on a Catholic Campus

As part of National Coming Out Week, University Ministry teamed with Queer Alliance and the Gender & Sexuality Center to host a forum exploring what it means to be a queer student and faculty member on a Catholic Campus.

Students and faculty gathered near the cafeteria, many of them sporting rainbow-colored buttons on their book bags and shirts, to participate in a round table discussion on the state of the gay community on campus.

Rev. Donald Godfrey, S.J., was among one of the special invitees who spoke about the relationship between the gay and lesbian experience on a Catholic campus in San Francisco.

Having grown up in Ireland, a country that has been long known for its conservative Catholic roots, Godfrey has often reflected on the following question: could a person be accepted as Catholic and gay?
“I don’t believe being Catholic and being gay is an oxymoron,” said Godfrey, associate director of University Ministry. “There are people on this campus who are both [Catholic and gay] and the church needs the experiences and voices of the gay community. There has to be an engagement between the Catholic tradition and the gay experience.”

Godfrey cited his experience at USF and in the San Francisco LGBTQ community as having helped to shape his understanding of the relationship between the Catholic faith and the gay lifestyle.
The Castro, before becoming the epicenter of the gay rights movement in the 1970s, was home to many Irish Catholic immigrants who left a lasting legacy.

For Godfrey, the fusion of the two cultures, while at times contentious, has helped both communities to reconcile their understandings of faith and sexuality. Godfrey has since returned several times to Northern Ireland to help the gay and lesbian community of both the Catholic and Protestant Church wrestle with these same questions.

Dr. Shirley McGuire, professor of psychology, had some serious reservations as to whether Catholic universities around the country were ready to give support to the LGBTQ community.

After arriving at USF from the University of San Diego in 2001, McGuire wondered just how revealing she could be about her sexuality.

“I had my doubts and I believed I probably needed to stay in the closet because it was a Catholic university,” she said.

Having grown up in a strong Catholic family in Buffalo, N.Y., Ms. McGuire had long struggled to find a venue in which she could talk about the issue of sexuality and Catholicism with the help of a support group.

After coming to USF, things began to change for the better. McGuire and a group of 12 USF faculty members formed a caucus to aid LGBTQ members in their quest to “form an adult relationship with the Church.”

“When I visit other Catholic campuses, they have trouble talking about their sexuality,” said McGuire. “Here, I think we [USF] are starting to do a better job of reconciling both religion and sexuality.”

Nevertheless, the push to incorporate the LGBTQ community at USF has been gradual, and in the eyes of some students at the roundtable, not committed enough.

Andy Berlin, a Theology major, had been skeptical of the acceptance of St. Ignatius Church toward gay members of the community. For Berlin, the “juxtaposition” between the conservative stance of many Catholic Churches and the activism college students showed against Proposition 8 was one he thought couldn’t coexist.

Despite the issue of St. Ignatius, however, Berlin, who was raised by a single, lesbian, Catholic mother, has found the University and the classroom to be accepting of the LGBTQ lifestyle. According to Berlin, for some the idea of a gay Theology major seems incompatible.

“Coming to this university, I’ve rediscovered an appreciation for my faith,” said Berlin. “I actually feel the Theology major has the most queer-friendly staff.”