About Us

Our Mission

The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center’s mission is to enrich the experiences, foster success, celebrate victories, and affirm the existence of Penn’s LGBTQ+ undergraduates, professional and graduate students, staff, faculty, and alum using the lenses of social justice and intersectionality. Through education, support, and advocacy, the Center cultivates a campus climate where all students, regardless of their gender or sexual identity, can live authentically.

Penn LGBT Center
3907 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

LGBT Center Hours – Summer 2024

Monday – Friday: 10am – 4pm

Saturday – Sunday: Closed

 

Our Team

Eric stands outside.
Eric Anglero (they/them)
Director

Eric Anglero (they/them) previously held the role as the Associate Director for Princeton’s Gender + Sexuality Resource Center. In this role, Eric provided trainings across campus to various community partners, supervised center staff, and helped oversee the direction and mission of the GSRC. Currently they serve on the executive board at COLAGE, an organization for people with one or more queer parents and/or caregivers. They are also an alumni board member at Stockton University. 

Eric received their Master’s degree (M.A.) in American Studies and their Bachelor’s of Arts in History (B.A.) from Stockton University. After they completed their degree, Eric worked as an adjunct professor at Rowan College teaching African American History. They then accepted a position at a non-profit (CANDLE) in New York to coordinate LGBTQ youth services for Rockland County, New York. During this time period, they were the coordinator of the New York State LGBT Network’s Youth Services committee and handled trainings for state employees and local organizations on LGBTQ cultural competency. Eric has been a consultant for Howie the Harp in Harlem, NY, CANDLE’s youth services programs, and for Putney’s Student travel programs. They also volunteer at a summer program, the Harold M. Marsh Connections Institute, for high school students with the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities

Eric enjoys listening to records, watching Steven Universe, and time at home with their new kitten named Ghost! 

Wes Alvers
Wesley Alvers (they/them)
Associate Director

Wesley Alvers is honored to support, celebrate, and advocate for Penn’s queer and trans community members as an Associate Director at the LGBT Center. Wes holds a Master of Social Work degree from Penn’s School of Social Policy and Practice, with a specialization in macro practice on behalf of LGBTQ+ people and populations. Prior to their time at Penn, Wes spent the majority of their career as a counselor at an Oregon-based abortion clinic where they developed a deep interest in health equity and reproductive justice. Wes brings this framework to the LGBT Center, where they are committed to advocating for affirming practice, fostering networks of community support, and expanding pathways to individual and collective joy. If you want to talk with someone about gender, fashion, life, love, and/or the pursuit of the greatest snack foods, Wes is here.

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Loran Grishow-Schade
Building Coordinator

Loran Grishow-Schade serves as the LGBT Center’s Building Coordinator in addition to Loran’s work as the founder/director of The Spillway Foundation, Inc.—a social service nonprofit working towards our collective liberation from systems of oppression. Loran holds a triple master’s from the University of Pennsylvania Carey School of Law (GL ‘21) and the School of Social Policy and Practice in Social Policy (MSSP ’21) and Social Work (MSW ’20). During Loran’s MSW practicum, Loran served the LGBT Center as the MSW Intern, spearheading projects like Trans Day of Remembrance on Locust Walk and the Solidarity Not Appropriation Full Metal IndigiQueer Residency. Loran is the recipient of the University of Pennsylvania’s 2021 Dr. Andy Binns Award for Loran’s work advancing gender equity at Penn and the Graduate Student Leadership Award by the James Brister Society. Loran can be found outside of work playing frisbee with Sunset Blush (pictured) and Misty Gish at the dog park or exploring the art world with their partner in crime. Loran responds to every pronoun, and Loran’s family and friends all use “they/them.”

Tayondra Williams (she/her)
Tayondra Williams (she/her) Service Mechanic
Philly native Tayondra (she/her), also known as Tay, is our building’s service mechanic. She has been employed at Penn for ten years and loves fixing things. Outside of work Tay enjoys spending time with her wife and son. If she’s not at work or with her family, she’s probably somewhere reading a book. Her all time favorite novel is “The Great Gatsby ” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
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Laura-Joelle Geschwindt (they/them) Program Assistant
Laura-Joelle (they/them) is a Senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, majoring in Biology and minoring in Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies. They are involved in NeuroQueer at Penn (Co-Founder & Co-President), LGBT Center Communications Committee (Student Chair), Carriage Senior Society, Penn Aces & Aros, Penn Non-Cis, and Anime at Penn. Laura-Joelle enjoys doing goth and horror makeup, playing Stardew Valley and Minecraft, collecting Sanrio plushies and merch, playing MTG, practicing mixology, learning about fat activism and body acceptance.
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Mia McMahill (she/her or they/them) Program Assistant
Mia (she/her or they/them) is a Senior in the College double majoring in Linguistics and Computer Science. She is involved in the Penn Band and the Penn Wind Ensemble, playing the mellophone and horn.
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Mar Tran (she/her) Program Assistant
Mar (she/her) is a second-year student studying nursing and nutrition. She was born in Bangkok, Thailand, but raised in Houston, Texas. In her free time, Mar likes to criticize awful TV shows, rock climb, and play just dance with her friends! She wanted to work at the LGBT Center to give back to the welcoming community at the center and to all guests!
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Kylee Countryman (she/her) Program Assistant
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Jake Muscato (he/him)
Join us in celebrating Jake's new role as the Restorative Practice Facilitation Specialist at Penn's Office of Restorative Practices. Jake left the LGBT Center in early June 2024.

Our Values Statements

  • Welcoming everybody
    You are welcome at the Center, no exceptions. We accept you as an individual whether queer, heterosexual, questioning or something else, ‘in’ or ‘out’, of any race or ethnicity, young or old, and so on as we value and appreciate everyone.
  • Respecting varied ways of being
    We acknowledge there are many ways to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or allied and celebrate our community, diversity.
  • Maintaining confidentiality
    We provide a confidential, non-judgmental place in which to embrace and discuss sexuality and gender.
  • Making no assumptions
    Assumptions are not made about anyone, identity, reason(s) for coming to the Center, or any other status, as we believe everyone is a unique individual.
  • Ending all forms of oppression
    We strive to end all oppression because if one person is diminished by oppression, then we all are.
  • Fostering and maintaining a sense of community
    Creating a sense of community is vital for LGBTOA persons on campus to engender pride, a safe space, and learning and leadership opportunities. As we build campus community we also hope to stimulate a connection to the broader LGBTQA community in Philadelphia, the US and the world.
  • Recognizing our forbearers’  contributions
    We stand on our forbears’ shoulders, as their work has enabled us to be where we are today. We are grateful to them and aim to recognize their contributions on a regular basis.
  • Giving back
    Just as our forbears have given to us, we strive to serve others through volunteer, activist, and community work.
  • Engaging with Philadelphia-area, organizations
    We partner with city-based organizations to the best of our ability, particularly those serving the next generation of college students.
  • Being open to feedback
    Patron opinion is important and Center staff takes it seriously. Please let us know how we are doing either in person, by email, or anonymously via our website or suggestion box (located near the printers on the second floor).

Our History

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Penn is proud to be the home of the second oldest LGBTQ+ center in the US (the University of Michigan was first). What eventually became the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center (Center) was created in 1982 followed several homophobic campus incidents, including the severe beating of a gay sophomore by a fellow student. Student leaders and several progressive administrators took action by hiring founding director Bob Schoenberg to work three days a week as a point person for lesbian and gay concerns (there was no mention of bisexual or transgender people at that time) via Student Activities in Houston Hall.

When the Student Activities office restructured, the program moved to 3537 Locust Walk, eventually acquiring the entire third floor.  Although he had assistance from a few work-study students and eventually a half-time staff person, more help was needed.  In fall 1998 a second fulltime position was filled and by 2002, the Center was granted a third staff member; a staffing pattern which holds true today.  Meanwhile, the Center’s name grew as well, including ‘bisexual’ in the late 1980s and ‘transgender’ in 1999.

In October 2000, Penn President Judith Rodin announced a major gift to the Center from David Goodhand, C’85 and Vincent Griski, W’85. At the same time, the University committed an entire campus building to become the LGBT Center’s home. With this gift and ensuing donations from many alumni and friends, the exterior of the historic 1870s Carriage House was restored and the interior was gutted and redesigned providing two floors of space for the Center and its affiliated student organizations, making it the physically largest LGBTQ+ center in the nation.

After 40+ years, we are incredibly proud of the Center’s progress and status as an invaluable campus resource. That said, we are constantly working to better serve the ever-changing and diverse LGBTQ+ community.