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 Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center
3907 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Monday – Thursday: 10am – 10pm
Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday: 12pm – 6pm
Sunday: 12pm – 8pm
Monday – Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday and Sunday: CLOSED
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 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!
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.
- 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).
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.