Center raises funds, garners support
Supporters of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center attended the organization’s first Rainbow Friends “Friendraiser” on Thursday at the newly renovated Blaffer Art Museum.
The event invited mostly alumni to donate so it could continue to build a stronger and more accepting environment for LGBT students on campus.
“We’ve received a lot of inquires from people who are former alumni of the University, that wished that they had something like this when they were on campus, to people who just believe in our cause,” said honorary co-chair Nick Brine.
Brine and other fellow honorary co-chairs — Gary Wood and Carol Wyatt — are responsible for bringing visibility to the center as well as the greater Houston community.
According to UH’s alumni database, the University does not offer a LGBT alumni group.
“What we’re really hoping to do is identify gay and lesbian alumni of the University of Houston to create an actual UH alumni network for the LGBT alumni and this event is the first step in reaching that goal,” Brine said.
The event had an immediate friendly atmosphere as guests were given name tags and greeted by Lorraine Schroeder, the LGBT director.
“We came up with the idea of having it here since the Blaffer was brand new and it also so happened that Tony Feher, who is a gay man, was being exhibited here already,” Schroeder said.
Guests were treated to Feher’s art as they socialized with live music, drinks and snacks.
There were faculty and staff members who had red buttons pinned on their shirts with labels that indicated that they could offer more information to attendees.
UH faculty member Guillermo De Los Reyes wore a button that read “LGBT Minor.” Reyes is the director of the minor and interim co-director of the women’s, gender and sexuality studies program and is also indirectly involved with the resource center.
Reyes was one of the faculty members who submitted the proposal for the LGBT studies minor in 2009 and helped craft the initiative to begin the resource center in 2010.
“I decided that it was important because we have a lot of interest within the student community on sexuality and if you match that interest with the faculty — people that do research on sexuality already — and so we thought it was very important to offer that expertise to students,” Reyes said.
Future goals for the center include an office expansion, student outreach and direct training to faculty about creating a LGBT inclusive environment in the classroom.
To those interested in supporting the center and becoming Rainbow friends, visit https://giving.uh.edu/gift.