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The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity hosts several signature and annual programs to spread awareness about the LGBTQA community and educate the Penn State community about sexual and gender diversity.

Welcome Reception

2020 Virtual Welcome Reception

Each fall the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity hosts their Welcome Reception, inviting the entire Penn State LGBTQ+ community and their allies to explore all that is offered to new and returning students. This years welcome will be held virtually with University offices, units, and student groups sending messages of welcome and discussing the resources they offer to LGBTQ+ students. 

  • Stay tuned for the link
LGBTQ+ History Month



October is LGBTQ+ History Month! LGBTQ+ History Month is a month-long celebration that is nationally recognized. At Penn State, we celebrate the month with a variety of speakers, events, and workshops.


Beyond Stonewall Webinar

Thursday, October 1st , 12:00 p.m. 

Beyond Stonewall: A history of LGBTQ activism Queer activism workshop with Samy Nour Figaredo. We all know about the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969. But surely--SURELY--that’s not the only time that LGBTQ people have risen up in protest… right? Join actor and activist Samy Figaredo for this interactive session on queer movements before and after Stonewall.

Access the webinar here


Safer People Safer Places-Foundations

Tuesday, October 6th, 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Webinar for faculty, staff, and graduate students  

The Safer People Safer Places foundations workshop provides a baseline knowledge for understanding and addressing sexual and gender diversity. Through the workshop, participants discuss a variety of topics that will help them become a better ally and provide support to members of the LGBTQ+ community. After attending the Foundations workshop, participants will be able to define and describe common concepts and language relating to sexuality and gender; explore the experience of homophobia, heterosexism and genderism; and identify specific actions to create welcoming, affirming and inclusive spaces for people marginalized by their sexuality and/or gender. After completing the Foundations workshop, participants will be able to display the Safer People Safer Places decal as well as be listed on our online resource page as a network member. 

If you need accommodations to participate in this event, please contact the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (814) 863-1248 or as soon as possible. 

Register here


Scavenger Hunt

Wednesday, October 7th ,  5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.  
LL011 HUB Robeson Center

 Students can grab a list of actions to fulfill a PSU themed scavenger hunt. Students only need to enter the space to receive the list and a bottled water. The list will consist of picture taking or finding things on campus. Once the list is complete, students can come back to the Center for a swag bag prize. Students can become familiar with Penn State’s Campus, discover trivia, and interact with the Center through social media.  


National Coming Out Day 

Sunday, October 11th    

National Coming Day is an LGBTQ awareness day observed on October 11 and encourages LGBTQ people to come out to the people in their lives as a form of personal political activism. On October 12, 1998, University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard died after being beaten, tortured and left today near Laramie, Wyoming four days earlier. Shepard’s attackers targeted him for robbery as a gay man and pretended to be gay to lure him. Shepard’s death set off a wave of protests across the country, and ultimately led to the passage of Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  


LGBTQ+ History Month and National Coming Out Day Virtual Rally   

Monday, October 12th , Virtual  

 Join us in celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month as we show pride within our Penn State community. Student leaders and various members of the larger Penn State LGBTQ+ community will share videos about their experiences and the meaning of pride for them in the community.  


An Evening with Ryan Jamaal Swain, A WPSU Production  

Monday, October 12th , 6:30 p.m.

 A breakout star of FX’s Golden Globe-nominated series, Pose, Ryan Jamaal Swain is a triple-threat actor, dancer, and singer who was named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list for his LGBTQ+ activism. He has won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Damon, an ambitious aspiring dancer who, after being kicked out of his home for being gay, becomes part of a self-selected family in New York City’s 80s-era queer ballroom scene. Pose, which has been widely praised for its portrayal of queer and trans people of color, catapulted the frequent off-Broadway actor into the media spotlight. Swain was named by PAPER Magazine as “100 People Taking Over 2019” and has been featured in publications such as Vogue Online, Nylon, GQ, The New York Times, Flaunt Magazine and WWD. Following the success of Pose, Swain made his Broadway debut in “Choir Boy,” directed by Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney. He is currently writing a book for young adults that is based on his own life experiences growing up queer in the South. As an activist, Swain is a Stonewall Ambassador. He notably partnered with the nonprofit It Gets Better Foundation on the “#48HoursOfLove” campaign, sharing uplifting messages of hope, empowerment and support to LGBTQ+ students during the stressful back to school season. 
Sponsored by the Gender Equity Center, Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, The HOPE Center of Lock Haven University, Juniata College, and Bloomsburg University's LGBTQA Resource Center and Office of Access and Success.

Access the webinar here


LGBTQ+ History Month Keynote Speaker:Blair Imani-Intersecting Movements , A WPSU Production 

Wednesday, October 14th, 5:00 p.m.

Blair Imani is a critically acclaimed historian, outspoken advocate and activist, and dynamic public speaker. The author of two historical books: Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History (2018) and Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and The Black American Dream (2020), she centers women and girls, global Black communities, and the LGBTQ community. She is the co-host of America Did What?!, an educational podcast and anti-racism initiative with Kate Robards. Blair serves as the official ambassador of Muslims for Progressive Values, one of the oldest progressive Muslim organizations supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and she dedicates her platform to advocating for the rights of marginalized people around the world. 

Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Blair Imani attended Louisiana State University where, in 2014, she founded Equality for HER, a non-profit organization that provided resources and a forum for women and nonbinary people to feel empowered. Her fearless leadership took her to the front lines of anti-police brutality protests and, following her arrest at the protests of Alton Sterling’s murder in Baton Rouge, Blair began building a platform and social media presence to organize and create awareness about injustices in Black, Queer, and Muslim communities. 

Access the webinar here


Spirit Day

Thursday, October 15th , All Day

Everyone at the university is encouraged to wear purple to speak out against LGBTQ+ bullying.  Spirit Day is a means of speaking out against LGBTQ bullying and standing with LGBTQ youth, who disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities. Pledging to "go purple" on Spirit Day is a way for everyone —forward-thinking companies, global leaders, respected celebrities, neighbors, parents, classmates, and friends — to visibly show solidarity with LGBTQ youth and to take part in the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world.

Learn more about Spirit Day here


LGBTQ Center Awareness Day 

Monday, October 19th, All Day

Founded in 1994, LGBTQ Center Awareness Day is a national day of action focused on awareness around the work of LGBT community centers everywhere. 

Learn more about LGBTQ Center Awareness Day here


International Pronouns Day 

Wednesday, October 21st

International Pronouns Day seeks to make asking, sharing, and respecting personal pronouns commonplace. Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people’s multiple, intersecting identities.

Learn more about International Pronouns Day here


Strength and Power:Healing for POC Communities, A WPSU Production 

Wednesday, October 21st, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Resilience and connection session for students and faculty of color curated by Senior Consultant Raquel Saraswati. While all students are navigating the realities of COVID-19, and many are engaged in resistance movements to counter racism, BIPOC are experiencing intersecting challenges in this moment. Starting college or coming back to campus after the summer both present positive opportunities for connection and can present tremendous challenges: anti-Blackness, racism, anti-Muslim bigotry, microaggressions, colorism, internalized racism, fetishization, tokenization and more are inescapable. In this session, students and faculty of color will have an opportunity to share their experiences and receive affirmation, care, and guidance as they navigate their college experience. While all people of color are encouraged to attend and share, this session will center the experience of Black students and faculty and will be co-presented with a Black facilitator.


Late Night in the Center: Pronouns Matter  

Wednesday, October 21st, 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., LL011 HUB Robeson Center  

To recognize International Pronouns Day, students can come by the Center to pick up a pronoun button and trans/non-binary information from around the globe. Pronoun buttons will be in various languages. An interactive question display wall will also be available to students. 


Late Night in the Center: Child's Play at the Arboretum

Wednesday, October 28th, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. , LL011 HUB Robeson Center-Arboretum 

Students can wear costumes and come to the arboretum (or another part of campus if the arboretum is being used) to play outdoor games such as tag, hide-and-seek or red-light/green-light. The late night will be a great relaxing and fun way of getting together and celebrating the Halloween season.  


Transgender Awareness Month


Día De Los Muertos Celebration

Monday, November 2nd  -Virtual event

Día De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, commemorates the lives and memories of those in our family or community that have passed. The altar is decorated with pictures of loved ones who have passed, items of significance, food, floral arrangements, and decorative tissue paper. The altar for the center represents the memory of those lost within the LGBTQ+ community. The altar allows us to honor and remember their contributions and legacies.

Student can help decorate the altar with their own pictures and offerings. A live stream will be available for students on the day. 

Student Ally Workshop

 Thursday, November 5th -4:30 pm – 6pm

Zoom Link: 

The student ally workshop aims to share information and activities that will allow students to understand what it means to be a better ally and a better support for their LGBTQ+ peers.  


Safer People Safer Places-Transgender & Gender Inclusion 101 Webinar

Thursday, November 12th  -9:00-11:00 am 

The Transgender and Gender Inclusion 101 Workshop explores basic terminology associated with the transgender and/or gender non-binary community, engages participants in a discussion around gender diversity, and highlights some of the challenges constructed by gender restrictive practices. The workshop concludes with ways to be an ally to transgender and gender non-binary community members and challenges participants to recognize ways that they can foster culture change. 

If you need accommodations to participate in this event, please contact the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity at (814) 863-1248 or as soon as possible. 

Register HERE 

Intersex Day of Remembrance/Solidarity

November 8, All Day

Intersex Day of Remembrance, also known as Intersex Solidarity Day, is an internationally observed civil awareness day designed to highlight issues faced by intersex people. It marks the birthday of Herculine Barbin, a French intersex person whose memoirs were later published by Michel Foucault in Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-century French Hermaphrodite.

Do Your Work: The Internal Anti-Racism Journey

Tuesday, November 10th - 3:00-5:00 p.m.

Anti-racism session for white students and faculty with Trystan Reese. You care about racism. You reject racism. But how do you become an ally - or better yet, an accomplice in the fight against anti-Blackness and racism? First, you must go deep within to understand your own race story as a person with white and/or light-skinned privilege, exploring the earliest messages you received around race. Then, we will examine the antidote to white fragility-- white humility. Finally, we will learn a practical tool for effective intervention with other people of privilege when racism rears its head. 

New & Q:  A Queer Peers Event 

Thursday, November 12th -5:00 p.m. 

Students can create their own care packages. The program is geared towards new students. The packages will include encouraging notes from other students and staff and various items to help them study such as school supplies, snacks, and tea packets. The Center will create the package based on the student’s request to reduce handling of the items.  

Social distancing and location information may shift as we progress through the semester. 

Safer People Safer Places-Foundations Webinar

Monday, November 16th-9:00-11:00 a.m. 

The Safer People Safer Places foundations workshop provides a baseline knowledge for understanding and addressing sexual and gender diversity. Through the workshop, participants discuss a variety of topics that will help them become a better ally and provide support to members of the LGBTQ+ community. After attending the Foundations workshop, participants will be able to define and describe common concepts and language relating to sexuality and gender; explore the experience of homophobia, heterosexism and genderism; and identify specific actions to create welcoming, affirming and inclusive spaces for people marginalized by their sexuality and/or gender. After completing the Foundations workshop, participants will be able to display the Safer People Safer Places decal. 

If you need accommodations to participate in this event, please contact the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (814) 863-1248 or as soon as possible. 


Wednesday, November 18th

It gives us great pleasure to announce that the next international day of LGBTQ+ people in STEM will happen on Wednesday, November 18, 2020.  

The change of date comes after the result of an open survey and months of discussion. The date is symbolic of the 60th anniversary of American Astronomer and gay activist Frank Kameny’s US Supreme Court fight against workplace discrimination, a fight that continues today not only in the US, but in so many other countries worldwide.  

We hope that November 18 could come to represent all the people who today continue to make the world of STEM a better and more inclusive place! 

Learn more about LGBTQ+ STEM Day here

Late Night in the Center-Safe Travels 

Wednesday, November 18th -5:00-8:00 p.m. 

CAPS session about going home for LGBTQ students  . Students can join in a Zoom session with a CAPS counselor to talk about ways of self-care and navigating going back to homes that may not be affirming of LGBTQ+ identities.  


Transgender Vigil

Wednesday, November 19th-Virtual Ceremony

This event is intended to honor and remember those who have been killed because of anti-transgender and non-binary bigotry, hatred, and violence.

We will be remembering those who have been killed in 2019 because of their perceived gender identity and/or expression. Join us for this moving ceremony complete with keynote speakers and the reading of the names. 


Transgender Day of Remembrance

Friday, November 20, All Day

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.


Centre LGBTQA Presents LGBTQ Thanksgiving Dinner


Free for everyone! All are welcome!

AIDS/HIV Awareness
How to Survive a Plague: the untold story of AIDS and how its shaped LGBTQ culture forever

An AIDS activism workshop with Trystan Reese

Tuesday, December 1 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

Use this link to access webinar

Passcode: 874189

For most Americans, COVID-19 is the first pandemic they have experienced. But for the LGBTQ community, a mysterious illness that sweeps the nation, taking the lives of friends and family, is not new at all. Trystan Reese, renowned educator, and advocate will explore the untold story of the AIDS epidemic in this interactive, multimedia workshop. The Penn State community will learn about the first days of the crisis and gain an understanding of how and why this horrible disease gained a fast foothold in gay communities across the globe. Learners will hear about the power and resilience of the people directly impacted by HIV/AIDS, and hear first-person accounts detailing the incredible allyship shown by people of faith, the drag community, lesbian women, and the many others who rallied to provide life-saving and palliative care at a time when so many systems were failing to support these dying people. Attendees will emerge from this session feeling empowered and ready to survive our current pandemic with the same grace and grit that the LGBTQ community showed during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

AIDS Memorial Virtual Quilt Display

The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, working with the National AIDS Memorial, has sponsored a portion of the virtual AIDS quilt. Each year, sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt travel to communities throughout the country for in-person displays. In 2020, that is simply not possible due to Covid-19.  While nothing can replace the beauty of seeing the Quilt in-person, our hope is that this first-ever, 50-state AIDS Memorial Quilt virtual exhibition, helps use the power and beauty of the Quilt to help our nation heal and remember during these difficult times.  The National AIDS Memorial has worked together with Quilt partners from across the country to create this exhibition which includes digital images from thousands of hand-sewn Quilt panels, each visually telling the story of loved ones lost to AIDS.  The exhibition is curated by state, allowing visitors to how people came together through one devastating pandemic to create a living memorial as a way to express their love, grief, pain and hope.  Each display is hosted by a Quiltmaker, community organization or business and includes touching narratives that connect each display to the lives memorialized and their work around HIV/AIDS. The exhibition is free to the public through March 31, 2021. View the Pennsylvania partners site or view the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity site.

Pride Month

Penn State Center for  
Sexual and Gender Diversity Celebrates Pride Month 2021

  • Stay Tuned for 2021 Pride Month Events
Lavender Graduation

Lavender Graduation 2021

Friday, Blue and White Weekend

Location TBD

Lavender Graduation is an annual celebration that recognizes Penn State's LGBTQ+ students and acknowledges their achievements and contributions to the University. It is an inspiring and affirming ceremony that celebrates the achievements of graduate and undergraduate students in the LGBTQ+ community from all the Penn State campuses. 

The ceremony includes recognition of scholarship awardees, campus awards, and a time to thank significant supporters. In recognition of their achievements, graduates receive a rainbow tassel, stole, and graduation certificate. 

Who can participate?
Students from any Penn State campus who have graduated the winter prior to the ceremony or will be graduating the spring, summer, or winter after the ceremony. (December 2020 - December 2021). 

Register for Lavender Graduation Here 

Who can attend? 
Anyone can attend the ceremony! We encourage graduates to bring friends, family, and other supporters to the ceremony. Attendees may also attend if they want to support the graduating class as a whole, even if they do not have a specific student they are supporting. 

Scholarships and Awards 
Students receiving scholarships and awards are also invited to attend Lavender Graduation. A portion of the ceremony is dedicated to acknowledging the efforts of scholarship and award recipients. 

Award nomination form


Late Night in the Center

During the academic year, the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity has extended hours on Wednesday nights 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. During this time, students have access to the lounge space and we facilitate a fun activity, craft, or program. Past activities have included pumpkin painting, Harry Potter wand-making, and game nights.

Fall 2020  Late Night's will look different. We are working to build community online to keep students safe and healthy. Come back here for more information on Virtual Late Nights. For now, follow us on Facebook and Instagram @PennStateLGBTQ to keep updated.