New Safe Zone Program

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pawCan I major in Queer studies?

No, but there is a minor in Sexuality and Gender Studies, available through the Women’s Studies department.


pawWho can I talk to about LGBTQA issues on campus?

Students have several resources on campus. The LGBTQA Student Resource Center is a space that is welcoming all students. Staff and students are available to talk to anyone with a concern.

The Safe Zone offers students another resource.  Staff, faculty, and students who have completed Safe Zone training offer students a safe place to speak about LGBTQA issues. Safe Zone members have a sign or poster somewhere in an office or room, or you may see students with a button on a backpack.

Students can also call the Center for Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) (814) 863-0395 and talk with a counselor. The services are free and confidential to students.

The LGBTQA Student Resource Center also has an LGBTQ Mentorship program.  Students seeking someone to talk to about LGBTQA issues will be paired with a graduate student mentor who will be available to meet with you regularly.

pawWhat is it like being LGBTQ in the residence halls?

Starting Fall 2013, Penn State began offering the Ally House-Special Living Option! Please go to the Residence Life website to sign up. In general, being a minority in a residence hall can be difficult at times. A student can expect to encounter the same issues on a college campus that he or she might in a residential community. However, the Residential Life Staff is very committed to supporting the LGBTQA community at University Park. Several members of the Residential Life community are also members of the Safe Zone program, meaning they are trained to provide safe areas to talk about LGBTQA issues. In addition, they are trained to deal with issues of intolerance and have resources and information on how to help you through an act of hate, discrimination, or intolerance. Many of the professional staff members in Residence Life have gone through LGBTQA staff training.


pawIf I go to an LGBTQA event, will that out me?

Not necessarily. You make the decision to come out as LGBTQ. The LGBTQ community has many allies, so our community tries to avoid assumptions about the sexual orientation of all persons.  Again, it will be your decision when, if, and who you choose to come out to. There is a fear by many individuals that taking part in LGBTQ events or going to the LGBTQA Student Resource Center is only for people that openly identify as LGBTQ. The Center has many students and staff members that are Allies and all of the events held by the LGBTQ community are open to everyone.

pawHow can I get involved?

Students have several involvement opportunities at University Park. The LGBTQA Student Resource Centers offers internships and volunteer opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students. The Straight Talks class is a course that trains students to present about LGBTQA issues to populations unaware of what it is like to be LGBTQ. Students can join a variety of student clubs or discussion groups on campus. For more information, visit the student engagement tab on our website.

pawWhat are Straight Talks?

Straight Talks is a program run by the LGBTQA Student Resource Center. Undergraduate students take a three credit course, BBH 251, and are trained to go to various University Park classrooms and student organizations and talk about what it is like to be a part of the LGBTQA community. Graduate students, faculty, and staff can also be trained. A Straight Talk is a panel discussion in which members of the LGBTQA community discuss definitions of sex, gender, and sexuality, provide personal stories, and answer questions by those attending. Straight Talks are typically less than an hour and provide those attending with a glimpse of what it means to be LGBTA.


pawWhat LGBTQA support is offered in Fraternity and Sorority Life?

PSU has a chapter of Delta Lambda Phi, a national fraternity for gay, bisexual and progressive men. For information on DLP email:

Some of the staff members at the Sorority and Fraternity Life office are also members of the Safe Zone program.

If you are currently a member of a sorority or fraternity and would like someone to come in to talk with your group about making your house friendly to its LGBTQ members, please contact the LGBTQA Student Resource Center or look into bringing the Straight Talks program to your house.


pawAre there any LGBTQA friendly hang-outs?

University Park campus and the city of State College offer several LGBTQA Friendly hangouts. Many students make use of the LGBTA Student Resource Center during operating hours (M-F, 8-5). In addition, many students spend time in the portion of the HUB-Robeson Center where student groups are located. Some quiet or not so quiet hangouts are Webster’s Bookstore, and Saint’s Cafe. For those 21 or older, Chumley’s offers a pub atmosphere.


pawWhat should I do if I am harassed for being LGBTQ or an Ally?

First, realize that whatever happened to you was wrong and is not your fault. Do not take the blame for someone else's intolerance. Secondly, take care of yourself. Find support from friends, family, or individuals on campus that are here to provide support such as CAPS (863-0395) or the LGBTQA Student Resource Center. Thirdly, if you are comfortable doing this, speak up. Talk to your RA or someone from the LGBTQA Student Resource Center.

Penn State University has a Zero Tolerance policy and does its best to protect all of its students. To report incidents involving acts of hate, intolerance, harassment, and/or incivility, you can report a bias on Penn State’s educational equity website. Students can also call the Lion Support Help Line at (814) 863-2020 or the Affirmative Action Office (814) 863-0471.


pawWhat support is available for LGBTQA teenagers?

At this time, there is only one local State College High school GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) (is this still true?). If you are a member of the State College High school and would like more information about the group and their activities, please email: A gay-straight alliance aims to create a safe, welcoming environment for everyone, regardless of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and works to combat harassment and discrimination.


pawAre there any gender neutral, unisex, or single stall restrooms on campus?

There are many throughout Penn State. An accurate list will be available in the future. You can email:  for additional information.

pawWhere can I go for help with speech if I am transitioning?

PSU students can email Connie at in the Speech and Hearing Clinic to set up appointments for speech therapy. She is very good with trans* students. There is often a semester wait period to get an apt., depending on how busy they are.


pawTransgender Friendly Laser Hair Removal

Center for Cosmetic Medicine, located in the State College office of Blair Plastic Surgery. Has worked with many MTF clients and is very friendly according to patron reports. 814-234-1420, 1952 Waddle Road


pawHow can faculty change to their 'preferred name' in ANGEL?

Faculty can update their name in ANGEL by following the instructions on this website:


pawHow do I complete a name change in Centre County, Pennsylvania?

A complete walkthrough of the name change process can be found at

pawHow can I change the gender marker on my Pennsylvania driver license?

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (Penn DOT) has made a change in gender marker policy. "Gender Markers" refer to those ways in which individuals present themselves mostly on official documentation. For example, on a driver's license your "gender marker" would refer to your name and photograph.

With the newly adopted policy, transgender citizens of Pennsylvania will be permitted to change the designated gender on their driver's license when they are living full-time in their new gender and it can be verified in writing by a licensed medical or psychological caregiver.

Name Change Form


pawWhere can I get tested for STDs and HIV?

There are several options available for a student to get tested for STDs and HIV. First, University Health Services (UHS) offers Confidential Testing and Counseling. The AIDS Resource in downtown State College offers free, confidential, and anonymous HIV testing. You may also get testing at the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Please note that confidential does not mean anonymous. Testing done through UHS is confidential and results are kept in your personal file. Anonymous testing means you are given a number and that is how your test is referenced, but no name is attached to your results.

You should call each of these locations to inquire about their availability of testing before going. Some locations only offer testing on certain days and/or certain times. You can also inquire about what specifically they test for, what charges may apply, and if their testing is done anonymously or confidentially.

University Health Services
(814) 863-0774

AIDS Resource
129 S. Sparks St. Suite 1
(570) 322-8448

Pennsylvania Department of Health
280 West Hamilton Avenue
State College, PA 16801
(814) 865-0932

pawWhere can I get protection and Safer Sex information?

Protection is available at University Health Services and the LGBTQA Student Resource Center.

University Health Services
(814) 863-0774

AIDS Resource
129 S. Sparks St. Suite 1
State College, PA 16801
(570) 322-8448

The LGBTQA Student Resource Center in 101 Boucke Building also has a variety of books and pamphlets that deal with safer sex options and concerns and free condoms, dental dams, and lube as well.


pawAre there counseling or therapy services for LGBTQ issues?

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers its services to all students. Several CAPS staff are LGBTQA sensitive and friendly.

There are several discussion groups in the LGBTQA Center for group therapy. LGBTQA Center staff can make referrals to local LGBTQA sensitive therapists. Staff can also use Employee Assistance Program and ask for a referral to someone who has experience with LGBTQA issues and concerns. The toll-free number is 1-800-858-2778.

In addition, there are a variety of community and campus numbers to deal with emergency situations

If you are afraid you will not be able to avoid hurting yourself or someone else, get help immediately. Go to the Centre Community Hospital Emergency Department Call 911 or 1-800-643-5432 for the CAN HELP mobile crisis team.


pawWhere can I get information on domestic violence/sexual assault?

The Center for Women Students is an excellent resource to both the University Park campus and surrounding community. Information includes sexual assault victim resources, sexual assault awareness, relationship violence, and more, available on the Center of Women Students website.

located: 204 Boucke Building.


Telephone: (814) 863-2027.

The Centre County Women’s Resource Center is also an excellent resource. Trained volunteers and staff provide crisis intervention for victims of rape and domestic violence on their 24-hour hotline. They also operate a shelter for women who are currently in abusive relationships and need safe housing temporarily.

Address: 140 Nittany Avenue

Telephone: (814) 234-5222.


pawWhat do I do if I experience discrimination in the classroom?

Penn State University offers several resources if an individual experiences discrimination on campus.


If you just need a safe space to talk about what you have experienced, there are a variety of offices on campus that are members of the Zero Tolerance for Hate Program. Please stop by any of these offices to talk with someone who can help you. Some of the offices include: LGBTQA Student Resource Center, Multicultural Resource Center, Center for Women Students.

pawWhere can I go for help with substance abuse and/or alcohol concerns?



pawWho can I talk to about image or eating disorders?

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides students with both individual and group counseling opportunities. The LGBTQA Student Resource Center has a list of CAPS counselors who are LGBTQA friendly and also provides resources in our library on eating disorders.

Website: PSU Counseling Center

Located: 501 Student Health Center

Telephone: (814) 863-0395



pawIs it possible for graduate and undergraduate students to include domestic partners under university health insurance coverage?

Yes, if you enroll in the Penn State Student Health Insurance plan, a spouse/domestic partner and non-self-supporting children under 26 years old can be your dependent.


pawAre domestic partners of graduate students permitted to use the library?

Yes, if the partner is a Pennsylvania resident. Pennsylvania residents may check out up to 20 books at a time for 28 days.


pawAre domestic partners of graduate students permitted to use the workout facilities?

Yes, domestic partners can purchase gym memberships ion 146 White Building. The pass costs $90.00 per semester.



101 Boucke Building | 814.863.1248 | Contact the LGBTQA Student Resource Center