Established in 1993, UCR’s LGBTRC was the first professionally staffed LGBT resource office on a California college campus. Other trailblazing moments resulting from the center’s support and advocacy include UCR becoming the first campus in California to offer an LGBT studies minor in 1996 and being the first public university in the nation to offer a gender-neutral housing option to all students in 2005.
LGBTQ+ conferences founded by the center and UCR student organizations include the Tabla Conference, Asterisk Trans* Conference, and the ¡Presente! Conference. The center also hosts the BlaqOUT Conference, founded in 2014 by LGBTRC assistant director Toi Thibodeaux.
Since its start, the LGBTRC has made four locations moves. Its current location, in 245 Costo Hall, includes a lounge, meeting room, David Bohnett CyberCenter, and quiet room. But the center’s early members experienced less space and fewer amenities, meeting in a single room of only 245-square-feet. Regardless of the space allocated, the amount of work being done was enormous.
UCR alum, pioneering LGBTRC member, and Queer Alliance member Edwin Ramoran ’94, lived those early years of the center’s transformation.
“Thirty years ago, we built a coalition among an energized group of students from so many communities on campus, consisting of many students of color — concerned about our lives and future. Many of us wanted to make sure our campus was safe and we also wanted to see change,” Ramoran said. "We were greatly affected by the brutal beating of Rodney King by LAPD and the Los Angeles Uprising. We were inspired by our predecessors who gave us the modern-day civil rights and women’s rights movements, queer liberation, and AIDS activism. We organized, we marched, and we occupied the administration building. (We got arrested but the charges were dropped.) Chancellor Orbach heard our concerns. We proved that change can happen when you come together in strength and along strong progressive and intersectional work.”
UCR has grown even more support for LGBTQ+ students since those early years, with more members, allies, four career staff professionals, and a new trans support advocate position piloted in 2022-23.
Over the years, LGBTRC has been led by three directors — Steven Shum from 1993-1996, Maggie Hawkins from 1997-1999, and Nancy Tubbs, who has held the position since 2000.
“It takes an entire campus to celebrate and support LGBTQ+ people,” Tubbs said. “I’ve witnessed how student activism combines with staff and faculty support to create permanent change on campus, from the founding of Stonewall Hall and Gender Inclusive Housing in 2004 to this year’s first retrofit conversion of a multi-stall restroom on campus for everyone’s use as a gender inclusive restroom. I’m proud of the center’s role in these efforts over the decades.”
Opportunities to join in the celebration can be found on the UCR Events Calendar.
Check out 30 photos that celebrate the energy of the LGBTRC community over the years.