News Trans+ social group supporting area college students

U-News Staff

UMKC is listed as one of the top 5 gay-friendly campuses in the country and the University takes pride in its accepting atmosphere and safe setting. In 2003, UMKC opened the LGBTQIA Office to support and protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students on campus.
UMKC has received scores of 5 out of 5 stars for LGBT Student Life and for LGBT Recruitment and Retention Efforts on the LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index. Efforts to create a safe environment are what make UMKC a safe campus to live on for students of all sexual preferences and gender identities. LGBTQIA Programs and Services is doing all it can to improve the already well-known campus atmosphere for LGBTQIA students.
Jonathan Pryor, coordinator of LGBTQIA Programs and Services, and the LGBTQIA Office have been making an extra effort to make UMKC a comfortable campus for students of all sexualities and gender identities..
“This year we have an organized group of students meeting frequently, providing support to one another and engaging the community,” Pryor said.
The LGBTQIA office sponsors a weekly Trans+ Social Group, a new addition since February 2014, as well as the monthly Trans+Allies group—both under the lead of students Alex Ross and Michelle Farrell, and UMKC alumni Luke Harness. Ross and Farrell created a program proposal for the social group to create transgender support programs and services for the university as part of their Ph.D. programs.
Pryor said that the office has been “helping organize space for students to meet, and providing programs and support to educate our community,” demonstrating a more involved team of people for LGBTQIA students to rely on. These opportunities create a safer atmosphere on campus for every student who feels as if they’re threatened or not understood.
These ground-breaking groups serve as a refuge for the Trans+ community and their supporters. Each meeting offers a different discussion topic for students, answering questions and providing a safe environment for support. Trans+ Social Group is open to all college students in the area, and has shown an increase in attendance since its inception. Discussions revolve around gender identity and expression.
It is no easy task to break through barriers. The LGBTQIA Office has triumphed though, and working closely with University guidelines gives the office a chance to improve an already impressive campus reputation for LGBTQIA support.
“We have reviewed campus policies and have brought about change to make campus more inclusive for our trans+ students,” Pryor said.