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April 3, 2024

Staff voice: Supporting students at the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center

Em Wolfe is the coordinator of transgender student support for the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center, or GSCC, at Michigan State University. Wolfe's previous higher education work includes residence life, diversity and inclusion, and fraternity and sorority life. Their role at the GSCC is to support, advocate for and advise transgender and nonbinary students at MSU.

Content warning: This story contains references to violence against transgender people.

April highlights the beginning of Pride Month on campus, a time for queer and trans students to be celebrated, highlighted and welcomed. The Gender and Sexuality Campus Center contributes to this month by hosting many events, two of which are some of the largest queer events hosted all year: Pride Prom and Lavender Reception. Pride Prom is an opportunity for attendees to wear clothing that makes them feel their best and to attend with the person they want, and the Lavender Reception honors graduating LGBTQIA2S+ students at all levels of their education. Both events take place during April.

This year, our office is also introducing a new team member: me! My name is Em Wolfe, I use they/them pronouns, and I am filling a new role on our team that is among the first of its kind nationally. I am the coordinator of transgender student support. In this role, I will be overseeing multiple transgender student organizations, managing the new Transgender Residential Experience, known as TREx, advising and mentoring trans students, creating programs that celebrate trans students and contributing to transgender-related educational programs.

Transgender Residential Experience

TREx is a brand-new living community that will launch in the fall of 2024. This community is a dedicated space for transgender, gender-nonconforming and nonbinary students to live together in an intentional and inclusive environment. The community will be similar to a living-learning community but will not have the same participation expectations nor the academic requirement. Instead, this community will provide targeted programming, support and connections to help create a safe and inviting space for trans residents. My role within TREx will be to create learning outcomes, plan programs, manage community conflicts, advocate for students and initiatives and conduct assessments of the program.

Programs and initiatives

As the coordinator of transgender student support, I will be hosting and coordinating both social and educational events. For example, I hosted a Transgender Day of Visibility event on April 1, where students came to the GSCC to make friendship bracelets and enjoy cookies from MSU Bakers. Later that evening, we worked with the students of the North American Indigenous Student Organization, TransAction and Alliance to host a vigil for Nex Benedict, an Oklahoman trans Indigenous teen who died after experiencing transphobia and a brutal attack from peers. Future programs will include workshops on masculinity in queer and trans spaces, pronoun education, radical trans inclusion and more.

Collaborate with me

I can’t wait to work with the MSU community, and I am available to assist in many ways. For those interested in participating in TREx, please contact me through the GSCC website. If you are interested in collaborating, we can work together to create a social or educational program for TREx residents. Additionally, please send me programs or initiatives that would be relevant for TREx residents to be aware of, and I can inform the residents of these events! I am also available to create a workshop for campus organizations, departments or units, and can provide information about social events happening around campus. Finally, I can meet individually to identify needs in departments or organizations at MSU and work with you to meet those needs.

I am overjoyed to be in this position and to be able to work with queer and trans students at MSU.

See you soon!


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