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.

Contact Us

Penn Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center
3907 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 10am – 10pm
Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday: 12pm – 6pm
Sunday: 12pm – 8pm

Summer Hours:
Monday – Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday and Sunday: CLOSED

Our Team

Erin Cross
Erin Cross (she/her)
Director

Erin, the Center’s Director, is a Cleveland, OH native who now calls Philadelphia home. Before coming to Penn she held various jobs after earning her B.A. in History and Political Science from The College of Wooster, M.A. in Political Science from The Pennsylvania State University, and Ph.D. from Penn’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) specializing in queer, gender, and learning theories in out of school contexts. In addition to her duties at the Center, Erin is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at GSE, Affiliate Faculty with Penn’s Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program, Pre-Major Advisor in the College, Restorative Practices at Penn facilitator, Anti-Violence Advocate, and sits on the Provost’s Wellness Advisory Committee, Alcohol and Other Drug Task Force, International Student and Scholar Service’s International Partners Outreach Group, Penn Athletics’ Racial and Social Justice Task Force, and the Vice Provost’s Sexual Assault Working Group. She has been honored as a Model of Excellence, Penn’s highest staff honor, four times, teaches annually at GSE, and was a co-primary investigator on a Provost’s Excellence through Diversity Fund grant around inclusion of LGBTQ students and topics in professional education, and is part of a Penn Futures grant looking to prepare students at GSE, SP2, and SON to better serve LGBTQ+ youth, particularly those of color. Outside of work she enjoys a good night’s sleep, reading for fun, finding restaurants where she can actually eat, watching NHK World, and staying connected with friends and family, near and far. Erin loves spending time with her wife, Amy, and all the cool kids in her life.

Malik Muhammad
Malik Muhammad (he/him)
Associate Director

Malik Muhammad is an Associate Director at the LGBT Center. A Philadelphia native, Malik holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology as well a Master’s degree in Higher Education Counseling and Student Affairs from West Chester University (WCU) of Pennsylvania. A proud brother of the Pennsylvania Tau Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Malik’s passion for social justice began at an early age as  the son and grandson of phenomenal change agents in the Philadelphia African American Muslim community. That passion was reignited and started to flourish during his six-year academic and para-professional career at WCU. There he came to realize the deep significance of LGBTQ+ advocacy, education, and working with an intersectional lens at the higher education level and in all walks of life. Now, years later, Malik is a change agent himself. At Penn, he diligently works to support students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members spearheading the Center’s educational programs, advising LGBTQ+ student groups, and fostering collaboration across the University with various other roles. Malik also serves the Philadelphia community as a member of the Penn Center for AIDS Research Community Advisory Board, the Colours Organization Board, and as a talented local artist/entertainer. From the moment you meet him, Malik’s genuine, energetic, and optimistic nature is undeniable and often, quite contagious. If you haven’t already, find out for yourself!

StaffPhotoMorgan
Morgan Allgroves-Hodges (she/her)
Morgan Allgrove-Hodges is a Connecticut native from outside of Hartford. She graduated with her B.A. in English and Sociology from the University of Connecticut and is currently a first year master’s student in the School of Social Policy and Practice studying Social Policy. Her research interests are in urban studies and public transportation equity. She also enjoys rock climbing, going to concerts, traveling, and talking about her Subaru.
Jan Kee Scott Headshot
Jan Kee-Scott (she/her) Business Administrator
Jan in the Center’s Business Administrator. She takes amazing care of us and ensures the money goes where it needs to go. Although her office is in the Office of Student Affairs because she works with other Penn officestoo, we could not function without her knowledge and expertise. Jan is also an early bird who enjoys traveling and hot yoga.
StaffPhotoElle
Elle Kirsch (she/her)
Elle is a senior submatriculant studying philosophy (with a minor in cognitive science) and will graduate with her bachelors this spring and her masters next fall. When not at the LGBT Center, she is a research assistant in the philosophy department and can also be found playing flute and piccolo in the Penn Symphony Orchestra. Elle is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness, especially for decreasing the stigma around mental illness and for taking the necessary time off from school to prioritize oneself. She recognizes that although her college journey has been far from linear, it has been beautiful, and finds purpose both in inspiring others and hearing their story.
Mia McMahill Headshot
Mia McMahill (she/her or they/them)
Mia is a sophomore in the College majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Computer Science. She plays horn in the Penn Wind Ensemble in addition to making electronic music in her free time. She also likes watching Star Trek, playing videogames, and doing what she can to advocate for the LGBT Community.

Mia es estudiante de segundo año en el Colegio de Artes y Ciencias. Está estudiando la lingüística y la informática. Toca el corno francés en el Penn Wind Ensemble adémas de hacer música electrónica en su tiempo libre. También le gusta mirar Star Trek, jugar videojuegos y hacer lo que puede para abogar por la comunidad LGBT.
Justin Roberts (he/him)
Justin Roberts (he/him)
Justin is a Junior in the College studying Economics and Political Science with a concentration in American Politics. He is a pre-law student who wants to use his knowledge and experience to help others through work in public policy. In his free time, he plays clarinet in the Penn Band and participates in their DEI Committee; plays videogames; or works with Penn’s QSA in his role as treasurer.
Emily Orengo (she/her)
Emily Orengo (she/her/hers)
Emily is a Junior in the College majoring in Neuroscience with minors in Chemistry and Psychology. She is a pre-med student who wants to use her passion for science to help others. A South Jersey native, she enjoys going to the beach and walking her dog on the boardwalk. She also enjoys baking, working out, watching medical dramas, and playing video games on her Switch.
Juliana Vollmer (she/hers)
Juliana Vollmer (she/hers)
Juliana is a Sophomore in the College studying Psychology and minoring in Nutrition Science. She plans to use her experience as a low-income, neurodivergent student to inform her career in clinical psychology and to help improve the mental health of other young adults. In her free time, you can find her strolling along Locust Walk, working out at Pottruck, watching anime, or eating any number of delicious foods (especially ramen).
Xandro Xu (he/they)
Xandro Xu (he/they)
Xandro Xu is a first-year student from Phoenixville, PA. He is a prospective neuroscience major with passions in music, the environment, and social impact/advocacy. Outside of working at the Center, Xandro is a clarinetist at the Penn Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Penn Live Arts Student Advisory Council. He also loves to take photos, travel, and listen to podcasts.
Tayondra Williams (she/her)
Tayondra Williams (she/her) Service Mechanic
Philly native Tayondra, 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.
StaffPhotoYupu
Yupu Wang (she/her)
Yupu Wang is a social work intern and a second-year master student. She is from China. Yupu is dedicated to involving more international students and graduate students in the Penn LGBTQ+ Communities. She is also building a community for Chinese LGBTQ+ students. She values the sense of belonging and connection. Feel free to reach out to her!

王玉璞是一名社工实习生,也是一名硕士二年级学生。她来自中国。玉璞致力于使更多的留学生和研究生参与到宾大的性多元社群。她同时也在建立中国性多元学生社群。她很看重归属感和联结感。欢迎联系她!
StaffPhotoMatthew
Matthew Bolbolian (he/him)
Matthew Bolbolian is a Junior in Wharton from Southern California studying management and decision processes. On campus he is also involved in Wharton Council and the social impact consulting branch of MUSE. Matthew misses going to the beach, but in his freetime, he also likes to dance, try new foods, and play video games.
Alberto R
Alberto Rodriguez (he/him) Facility Custodian
Alberto Rodriguez is a facility custodian for the University of Pennsylvania from Miami, Florida. You can catch him on the coast laying on a beach or somewhere around the globe experiencing different cultures. Alberto has a passion for baseball, running track, and food; these have taken him to parts of the world that he could have never imagined: 18 different states and 3 countries. His ultimate goal is to make an impact on younger generations from all walks of life by sharing his experiences and encouraging them to keep an open mind to find the "beautiful" about every person, place, or thing in life.

Values Statement

  • 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 oppertunities. 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).

History

LGAP Marching broad street

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 35+ 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.