Supporting the LGBTQ+ community on campus, Director of LGBTQ+ Life Carrie Robinson leads Trinity’s Queer Resource Center

As the director of LGBTQ+ life at Trinity College, Carrie Robinson runs the college’s Queer Resource Center, which leads campus initiatives to support educational, advocacy, and community-building efforts for Trinity’s LGBTQ+ population of students, staff, and faculty. Robinson, who came to Trinity in February 2018, had previously been the associate director of diversity at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. She is the first full-time staff member at Trinity’s QRC and is working to build a more inclusive campus community. Robinson, originally from Montrose, Pennsylvania, earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Eastern Connecticut State University and a master’s degree in counseling in higher education and student development from Central Connecticut State University.

What’s your role at the QRC?
As the director of LGBTQ+ life on the Trinity College campus, I oversee the Queer Resource Center, which is located at 114 Crescent Street. I also run the Safe Space training on campus, which is a program for faculty, students, and staff on how to support all students on campus. I also foster a support system for LGTBQ+ students.

What attracted you to this position?
Diversity and social justice work has always been at the center of my career. I was attracted to Trinity’s mission and what it tries to instill in students and its commitment to diversity as a whole. There aren’t many schools in the country with the resources for a full-time staff member like this. I was attracted to how Trinity put financial resources behind the QRC to show LGBTQ+ students that they matter.

What motivates you in this role?
I believe in advocating for others. Every student who steps on campus should feel like they have a place—that they’re welcome, included, and can navigate this campus freely, like any other student. I’m passionate about this not only in my professional life but also in my personal life.

What are some of your goals for Trinity’s campus?
This year I want to make the QRC more of an attraction to students. I want all students to feel that they have a place here. The QRC is not just an LGBTQ+ space, but it’s open for all students. I would like to work toward more gender-inclusive spaces on campus, including locker rooms, housing, and bathrooms, to make the college more attractive to LGBTQ+ students, and to continue to break down some of the stereotypes that exist on campus.

What activities and programs are offered regularly by the QRC?
I provide Safe Space training, a two-hour training course where we go over basics like language, pronouns, digging into different identities a little more, what the coming out process is like for students, how to support students through that process, and the barriers they face on campus. Every other week there also is a pasta dinner and dialogue at the QRC.

What do you wish people knew about LGBTQ+ life at Trinity College?
There’s a misconception that LGBTQ+ life is easy for our students on campus, and that’s not always the case. There are moments where it’s very difficult to be out on campus, and people would assume that just because there’s a QRC, everyone should be able to be out if they want to be. There are still a good number of stereotypes and barriers not unique to Trinity; barriers exist at other institutions, which has shaped a lot of the work that I’ve done and will be doing.

How does the QRC help to increase diversity and acceptance on campus?
There are little steps we do to make people more aware. There’s a larger population of LGBTQ+ students on campus than we realize, so that starts with breaking down the stereotypes that exist and allowing students to feel that they are a full part of this community. It starts with education and awareness—with something as simple as recognizing pronouns—in order to be more inclusive on campus.

The QRC is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Contact Carrie Robinson at carrie.robinson@trincoll.edu or 860-987-6273 or visit the Queer Resource Center on campus at 114 Crescent Street.

Everyone is welcome to participate in these upcoming events:

  • National Coming Out Day, Thursday, October 11: Speaker during Common Hour in the Alumni Lounge (Mather Hall, second floor); an open-mic night from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in Terrace Room C (Mather Hall, second floor), where people can share their stories; and a screening of the film Love, Simon at 7:00 p.m. at the QRC, 114 Crescent Street; no cost
  • International Pronoun Day, Wednesday, October 17: 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Mather Lobby
  • November: Transgender Awareness Month
  • LGBTQ+ Friendsgiving Dinner, Monday, November 19: 7:00 p.m. at the QRC, 114 Crescent Street; no cost
  • Transgender Awareness Day, Tuesday, November 20: Vigil at the Trinity College Chapel, time TBA

 

Written by Gracie Culver ’19