The Q Center was founded in 2015 by a group of students and faculty members alike who were interested in creating a space for resources and support for LGBTQ+ students at Binghamton University. It was formed as part of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), whose mission is to cultivate inclusion and equity throughout BU’s campus. The Q Center has been located in room LS-G549 on the lower level of Glenn G. Bartle Library since 2016.
Nick Martin, the associate director of the Q Center, stated in an email that the Q Center works toward “the collective liberation of queer-identifying people.”
“We cultivate an intersectional space where all queer students, faculty and staff at Binghamton University are empowered to be their whole, authentic selves,” Martin wrote.
The Q Center takes a realistic and supportive stance on the subject of college relationships, promoting discussions of diverse types of relationships on campus to de-stigmatize conversations about safe sex, particularly those about queer relationships. Those involved in the organization take creative strides to teach students how to traverse the often confusing field of college hookup culture and first relationships. Over the past eight years, the Q Center has promoted respectful conversation about the LGBTQ+ community and formed a foundation of support for underrepresented students on campus.
Martin discussed the Q Center’s initiatives toward expanding support for LGBTQ+ people at BU.
“The Q Center team has worked tirelessly to increase LGBTQ+ visibility on campus through events, educational workshops, our Gender Bender Clothing Closet and meaningful collaborations with campus partners and LGBTQ+ student organizations,” Martin wrote. “We have allocated significant resources through new initiatives, new paid positions and expanding our phenomenal team of undergraduate and graduate student interns to highlight intersectional identities through monthly Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous and People of Color (QTBIPOC) hangout events and weekly low sensory hours meant to welcome in our neurodiverse students.”
The newly founded Sex Wall is just one of many additions and thoughtful approaches to students that the organization takes as they work toward their mission of supporting, educating and empowering students and faculty in the LGBTQ+ community. This wall is about creating a fun and welcoming environment for students to enter the Q Center and learn about safe sex practices and resources. It also acts as a provider for the LGBTQ+ community on campus as a spot for locating all one could need to practice safe sex.
The Sex Wall consists of a neon sign and “numerous shelves of internal and external condoms, a variety of lubricants, condom holders and information about [pre-exposure prophylaxis] from [Southern Tier AIDS Program] and [United Health Services],” according to Martin.
This new part of the Q Center works along with their longstanding history of providing referrals for mental and sexual health resources, gender-affirming care and safe sex and menstrual products. In partnership with B-Healthy, these initiatives help promote comfort and security for students engaging in sexual activity. The purpose of the Sex Wall is to ensure that students know they have resources and support to live their most fulfilling lives.
Martin expressed the Q Center’s dedication to positive sexual health and awareness on campus.
“The Q Center is proud to promote safer sex supplies and sex-positive education, and we hope this service will help to de-stigmatize conversations around sexual health as it relates to queer people,” Martin wrote. “Our Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Educators are now offering workshops on how to navigate Grindr, safe hookup practices, and kink in collaboration with some of our LGBTQ+ student organizations.”