Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, January 7, 2011

Spectrum Center celebrates 40 years of LGBT activism

The Spectrum Center, the university's office for sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, will kick off "Doin' It for 40 Years," a yearlong celebration of 40 years of LGBT activism, with a birthday party Monday at the U-M Museum of Art.

The event, open to the entire university community, gets under way at 6 p.m. with the program set for 7 p.m. Spectrum Center Director Jackie Simpson and the center's co-founder, Jim Toy, will provide the welcome, followed by live music, student created art work, birthday cake and an introduction of the many events scheduled for the coming year.

"So much effort goes into the work of social justice and we often don't take the time to celebrate our achievements," Simpson says. "The University of Michigan should be proud of its progress and confident that we have been leaders in LGBT issues on college campuses."

Throughout the celebration the Spectrum Center is collaborating with schools and colleges across campus and many units within the Division of Student Affairs to put on a program that offers something for everyone. Highlights include a monthly film series with featured directors, musical performances, a health panel series, youth dialogues, and keynote speakers and entertainers.

In conjunction with "Doin' It for 40 Years," U-M has been chosen as the 2011 host of the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference (MBLGTACC). This is the largest student-led LGBT conference in the nation and will be taking place on campus Feb. 25-27.

Featured speakers and entertainers include Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality; Mandy Carter, founder of the National Black Justice Coalition; and P.J. Serrano, president of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s.

For more information on MBLGTACC, go to

When the office that is now the Spectrum Center first opened its doors in 1971, it was then known as the Human Sexuality Office. It was the first office in the nation established to serve LGBT college students. The coming year of events not only commemorates this event on the U-M campus, but celebrates student services focused on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation throughout the nation.

Simpson estimates that during the last 40 years the Spectrum Center has served more than 50,000 students.

For more information on Spectrum Center programs and "Doin' It for 40 Years" events, go to