Keeping the LGBTQ Community Connected

By James Baratta ’22, April 18, 2020
The Center for LGBT Education, Outreach and Services provides resources for students and alumni during coronavirus pandemic.

Luca Maurer is redefining what it means to be alone, together. 

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Maurer, the director of IC’s Center for LGBT Education, Outreach and Services, has been working tirelessly to help the center upholds its mission in an increasingly virtual world.

To ensure students maintain critical connections during an extended period of social isolation, during the college’s spring break, Maurer issued a survey in an effort to tailor the center’s services to their needs.

“When I surveyed students, some said ‘I’m just despairing, not because of this new, uncertain, frightening thing that’s happening in our world, but also because IC was a place I found home as an LGBTQ person,’” he said“This is a time for students to find community and realize that they aren’t alone in what they're experiencing.”

As a result of the feedback, the center has continued to offer a variety of events for the IC LGBTQ community throughout the spring semester, such as watch parties, readings and discussions, all done virtually. Maurer also ensured that transcripts of the activities were available.

“Our students who are going to experience the most challenges at this time are the students who already are at the intersections of things,” Maurer said. “I thought it would work well to have people be able to see each other, but also be able to rely on an interactive transcript if that worked better for their particular learning style.”

This is a time for students to find community and realize that they aren’t alone in what they're experiencing.”

Luca Maurer, director of the Center for LGBT Education, Outreach and Services

One instance of virtual engagement was the “Soup and Hope” program, during which Maurer shared stories about overcoming adversity through the power of hope. He took part in the event last month at Cornell University’s Sage Chapel and hosted a second one virtually on March 26.

Kaitlyn Gough ’18 attended the virtual event, and felt that it emphasized the importance of the LGBTQ community. 

“I think having virtual events to re-tether LGBTQ students back to that community during this time is really important; it’s very grounding,” she said. “Keeping strong ties to groups that you have found connection with before is really helpful for emotional stability.”

Another example of how the center has moved its offerings online is by taking its Resource Room, a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community to chat with one another, do homework or seek counseling, and moving it online. Currently, individuals can use Zoom to access the room at certain times during the week.

Resource Room Information

Hours
Mondays: 10 a.m. – noon

Tuesdays: 4–6 p.m
Wednesdays: Noon–1 p.m.
Thursdays: 6–8 p.m.
Fridays: 3–5 p.m.

“Having these spaces where you can connect with a group of people where you don’t have to explain yourself is so important,” said Avi Kendrick ’21.

In addition to the Resource Room, the center will be working with the Center for IDEAS and The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and the student group Spectrum to organize Zoom calls, Instagram Live video streams, check-ins, meetings and services.

“These events are a great way to bolster the community, have people come together and learn from the wisdom of our elders who are writers and of our current artists’ community,” Maurer said. 

Coming Attractions

The Center for LGBT Education, Outreach & Services has more events coming this semester.

April 22 at 4 p.m. | Trans Men and Domestic Abuse: Let's Talk About It

April 25 at 11:30 p.m. | Luca Maurer will be reading works of LGBTQ authors during the Annual Tompkins County Readathon

Author and transgender activist Jennifer Finney Boylan, will be doing readings of her written works every Wednesday and Friday at 5 p.m. on Facebook Live.

Additional information about upcoming events can be found on the center’s social media pages, Intercom and the Ithaca College Events Calendar.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iclgbtcenter
Twitter: @iclgbt
Instagram: @ic_lgbt

But his work isn’t just focused on providing education and entertainment opportunities. He’s also trying to help students navigate the new normal of remote instruction, which sometimes means they may have returned to an unsafe family situation.

“For some students, we're just trying to continue that connection and support,” Maurer said, adding that the center is coming up with ways to ensure LGBTQ+ students in compromised situations “can still interact and maintain their safety.” 

"Having virtual events to re-tether LGBTQ students back to that community during this time is really important; it’s very grounding. Keeping strong ties to groups that you have found connection with before is really helpful for emotional stability.”

Kaitlyn Gough ’18

He’s created two webpages, one focusing on resources for LGBTQ+ individuals who are being impacted by coronavirus that includes hotlines, travel resources and ways to find support in communities, and a second that discusses health and wellness concerns of particular interest to LGBTQ individuals and communities."

“COVID-19 brings into really stark, bright light the impacts of oppression that are already embedded throughout our society,” Maurer said. “Everybody will experience the stresses and the strains that come with this virus’s impact, but at the center of this crisis are these inequities and the existing public health crises that spring from them.”