Numerous events occur throughout the year that create awareness, provide education, and social opportunities. Some of our events are Queertober, Trans Visibility Week, Day of Silence to Break the Silence, and Lavender Graduation. We also offer opportunities to be involved, such as our Student Ambassador Program, Fluidity, and LGBTea. Any LGBTQIA+ and allied individuals are welcome to join in all Gender & Sexuality Student Services programs!
Queertober is a month full of events that celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community! In the month of October, we host a variety of events in collaboration with campus partners as an opportunity to show some extra pride and allyship. A staple event during the month is Closet Door on the Quad, held in honor of National Coming Out Day. Attendees can volunteer to participate or can remain in the audience to show support!
Trans Visibility Week (TVW)
TVW provides engaging educational events pertaining to the trans community. The week occurs in honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31st, which is dedicated to celebrating trans people and raising awareness of prejudice and discrimination faced by trans individuals worldwide.
Day of Silence to Break the Silence
On the annual Day of Silence, hundreds of thousands of students nationwide take some form of a vow of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBTQIA+ bullying and harassment. The Day of Silence exists to create change for schools and communities. We host an annual Break the Silence event to encourage individuals to embrace their identities and to ask the UIS community to unite in raising awareness of the anti-LGBTQIA+ bullying and harassment that occurs to intersecting marginalized communities; including black, indigenous, and communities of color, individuals with disabilities, and undocumented immigrants.
Lavender Graduation Celebration
The Lavender Graduation Celebration is a cultural celebration that recognizes gender and sexuality minorities (LGBTQIA+) and allied students of all backgrounds. The ceremony acknowledges their achievements and contributions to the university as students who survived the college experience thanks to their activities and education at UIS. All students are eligible to participate and no qualifications are required. Students, faculty, staff, and departments can be nominated for a variety of awards that are to be presented during the celebration. Graduating students receive a lavender cord to wear during commencement and signed certificate.
Student Ambassador Program (qSAP)
The Student Ambassador Program (qSAP) works towards the development of programs, student outreach, and initiatives intended to better the campus climate for LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and faculty. It provides leadership experience for students and tangible support for GSSS functions. Student Ambassadors are afforded opportunities to serve in a variety of capacities and participate in training opportunities unique to a college/university setting to cultivate their leadership and service potentials. To learn more or sign up, please go to go.uis.edu/qSAP.
LGBTea is a weekly social. It offers a comfortable, accepting, and non-judgmental social atmosphere for LGBTQIA+ and allied students. LGBTea operates out of our Student Lounge (Student Life Bldg. Rm 22) and students hang out, watch movies, listen to music, make plans for the weekend, and play games (Just to name a few!). We typically host these socials weekly throughout the academic year on Thursdays from 4-6pm CST, but may be adjusted based on campus scheduling, programming needs, and holidays. To verify a scheduled social, please refer to UIS Connection, where all updated event information can be found.
Want a safe & confidential group to share coming out stories, explore your identity, and listen to other UIS students? This weekly group is facilitated by GSSS staff. All inquiries are kept strictly confidential. Students across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and their allies meet on a weekly basis and discuss topics relevant to their experiences including campus, community and interpersonal situation. Fluidity provides a safe and confidential space for those exploring their sexual and/or gender identity with peers. It provides support and advocacy for it’s members and is a judgment-free zone. If you would like to participate in our Fluidity group, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In need of identity-affirming clothing, accessories, and MORE? The Affirmation Station is a free, no-strings-attached, identity-affirming initiative for UIS students. Items available include but are not limited to: clothes, shoes, accessories, makeup, and hair products. Stop by and select anything you would like! Bags can be provided for discreet travel. The Affirmation Station can be found in the GSSS hallway, located in the Student Life Building, Suite 22. Typical operating hours are Monday – Friday from 9am-5pm. You can also access the GSSS hallway directly by entering through our discreet side-entrance located on the south side of the building. Looking for something specific? Fill out a request form to let us know! If you are interested in donating items to the Affirmation Station, please contact us at email@example.com or 217-206-8316.