I’m Here, I’m Queer, I’m Ready to Lend an Ear

Hi! My name’s Oly, and I’ll be your confidant for the year. I’m here to answer questions, give as much advice as I can offer, and steer you through the challenges present for queer folk transitioning into a new part of their life. While your identities will remain anonymous to me, I want this to be a relationship built on trust, so here’s a little bit about me:

This selfie was taken in a bathroom and the fact that it turned out so well gives me hope.

I’m a 19 year old CHID major who is interested in the way beings interact with one another in the world and in new worlds they create. I work at the Q Center, I’m a volleyball coach, and when I’m home I’m usually mass-consuming some form of media, drawing, or using one of my roommates as a pillow.

I began to identify as asexual in eighth grade, and it’s lead me to take a very critical look at sexuality, how it’s taught, how we think about it, etc. I consider myself to be a sex-positive person and honestly, I know more about sex than my friends who actually want to have it.

I can’t place a date on when I came to terms with my non-normative gender identification, but when I was six years old I asked my mom when my hot dog would grow in, so she was never much surprised. I’ve struggled long and hard with how I want to express my gender, and have resolved into a state of pleasant feminine apathy.

I have spent a lot of my life exploring different aspects of myself, finding ways that my identities fit together, have shifted over time, have been rejected by me and those around me, etc. I’ve also spent a lot of my life talking other people through their developing understandings of self, and while I will try to make it continually clear that I am not a professional, that I make mistakes, that I still have a lot to learn about myself and the world around me, I think I do a pretty good job with it. I don’t have the answers to everything, but at the very least I want you to know that you’re not alone and that there are people here to help.

But that’s enough about me, I want to know about you. What do you need, and how can I help?

Welcome & Blog Info

Welcome to the Q Blog! We hope it is helpful, encouraging, and enlightening. Through this blog we hope to interact with our communities and provide educational materials for site viewers by entertaining questions, discussing news, and sharing stories. Viewers are able to comment on blog entries, send staff emails (if provided), and “contact us.” Please keep in mind that though this is a virtual space, we intend it to be a liberatory space.

To that end hateful exchanges will be eliminated from the blog. No hate speech. At all. Ever. Comments will be deleted and depending on our follow-up with the involved parties could result in the party(ies) being reported and/or blocked. Please mindfully and respectfully engage with this space and other site users. Remember: this site is a resource, grounded in liberatory/social justice values. This site is meant for anyone who needs it and this requires us to be responsible to ourselves and others.

If you would like for us to publish a blog post on our Student Blog, please fill out this form.

Enjoy the site! If you have any comments, questions, or concerns send us a message via the “contact us” tab above. :)

Also, if you want to leave a comment, you are asked for your name and email address. You can make up a name and put in any email address you want, it does not have to be a UW address.

Jen Self of the Q Center Receives GSBA’s Voice for Equality Award

picture of jen self

Jen Self, Q Center Director

On Tuesday, February 24, 2015, the Greater Seattle Business Association held its annual Business and Humanitarian Awards Dinner, always a spectacular fete. This year, the University of Washington has someone and something exciting to celebrate, our own director, Dr. Jen Self, and the Q Center were honored as the recipients of Special Recognition: Voice for Equality Award. The Q Center, an active member of the GSBA since 2004, has previously been a finalist for the GSBA Non-Profit of the Year (2011, 2012). When asked for comment about the honor, Dr. Self said, “Without the decades of activism that came before me, and the Q Center, there would have been no space for our work and voices to persist. The University owes a great debt to the innumerable trans, queer, Two-Spirit, and LGBT students, faculty and staff who have fought to make the UW an institution in which education is accessible to all.”

Laverne Cox Visiting UW on May 5

Laverne Cox Visiting UW on May 5


ASUW Arts & Entertainment, HUB Culture & Pop Programs, ASUW Queer Student Commission, the Q Center and the UW’s Queer People of Color Alliance are so excited to announce that Laverne Cox is coming to the UW campus on May 5! She is known most recently for her groundbreaking role of Sophia Burset, an incarcerated African American transgender woman, on the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black. Laverne is the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show and to be nominated for an Emmy. She also appeared on the cover of Time magazine. In addition to being a critically acclaimed actress, she is an empowering speaker and activist for trans* rights. She has traveled the country speaking about moving beyond gender expectations to live more authentically.


Event Details:

May 5, 2015, 7:00 p.m. in the HUB ballroom

General Admission tickets: $15 for students, $25 for public


To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450 (V), 206-543-6452 (TTY), 206-685-7264 (fax) or email DSO@uw.edu.


Qolors, the 10th Anniversary



Beginning the week of April 6, the Q Center, Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center and Queer People of Color Alliance (QPOCA) will host Qolors, an annual reception celebrating queer and trans* people of color communities and the intersections of all the identities we embody. Qolors is a community-building space and, with this in mind, this year’s events will focus on the power of our local community, activists and organizations. In recognition of the 10-year anniversary, Qolors will expand beyond a daytime reception to incorporate a week of events centering on the theme of “ART for the Heart.” Last year, the reception drew the largest attendance in its history with 140 guests, and we expect to set a new record this year!



Monday, April 6: Art Walk at the Q Center, HUB 315 (all day)

The Q Center at the University of Washington is calling on artists who identify as Queer and Trans People of Color to submit visual art to the Qolors Art Walk Competition. The theme is “Art as a form of healing and activism” and we can’t wait to see what you bring to the table!
An album of the submissions (photo of work, the title, artists’ name, and description) will be posted for voting from March 23rd-April 8th, so even if you don’t submit anything, we’re asking everyone to please spread the word, like the page, and vote!
Awards and prizes will be presented at the Qolors Reception on April 9th. For more details, check out the Page’s long description or contact Jaimée Marsh at jaimeem@uw.edu with any questions!

Entries must be brought to the UW Q Center by March 19th along with the submission form.
For the submission form, click here: qolors art walk entry form


Tuesday, April 7: Biology of Burnout Workshop, presented by Zenyu Healing at the ECC Unity Room (4:00 – 6:00 p.m.)

This workshop will specifically support students of color and LGBTQ students in understanding the sources of stress in our environment, as well as the physiological effects of stress on our bodies. Most importantly, participants will leave with simple but powerful tools that they can implement for their personal health and the health of their communities. Long-term, system-wide changes will be addressed as well as individual strategies to ameliorate burnout in their day-to-day lives.

RSVP here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/qolors-biology-of-burnout-workshop-presented-by-zenyu-healing-tickets-15954406058


Thursday, April 9: Qolors Reception at the ECC Unity Room (4:30 – 6:30 p.m., doors at 4:00 p.m.)

Featuring “QTPOC Talks” by:


Cat Harris-White of aka SassyBlack of THEESatisfaction and Space Theory (Photo Credit by Victoria Kovios)

LuluNation pic by Naomi Ishisaka

Luzviminda Uzuri “Lulu” Carpenter of Uzuri Consulting and Productions, host of #LuLuNation and #SadBoisHypeClub on Hollow Earth Radio, Community Organizer & CReator of WonderLab Culture Collective (Photo Credit: Naomi Ishisaka)


Nic Masangkay,puny pint-sized powerhouse poet who has featured locally, nationally, and Buzzfeed-ly (Photo Credit by Jenny Jimenez)


RSVP here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-10th-annual-qolors-reception-tickets-15954999834


Friday, April 10: Open Mic at the ECC Chicano/Native Room (6:30 – 8:30 p.m.)

Theme: ART for the Heart, Claiming Our Stories

The intersection of queer and trans communities with people of color communities along with the intersections of all the other identities we embody give us a perspective not often recognized, let alone highlighted. For this open mic, it is our time to Claim Our Stories loudly and to make our voices heard.

In honor of our communities and our own intersecting identities, come speak up, speak out, and support the people around you. The mic is open to stories, songs, slams, or however you choose to express yourself. Remember to share encouragement, share the stage, and share this event!



For more information, contact Jaimée Marsh at jaimeem@uw.edu or 206-897-1430.


Accessibility Statement:

Ethnic Cultural Center:

-The Ethnic Cultural Center is on the UW Campus on:

3931 Brooklyn Avenue NE
Seattle, Washington 98105

-The ECC is near landmarks such as Lander Hall, the Ethnic Cultural Theater, and Alder Hall. For a map, search ECC1 on the campus maps:http://www.washington.edu/maps/

-University District Metro Bus Routes can be found here: http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/bus/neighborhoods/university_district.html


-Driving directions:

From I -5 (Exit NE 45th), East on 45th, Right on Roosevelt, Left on NE Campus Parkway, Right on Brooklyn, ECC will be on the right.

More info: http://uw.edu/maps/?ecc1


-The Central Plaza Parking Garage is the nearest parking lot to the ECC. Accessible parking is available in W-12, the parking lot across from the ECC, adjacent to the Ethnic Cultural Theater.


There is also potential street parking surrounding the campus, on 15th Ave, University Way, and Brooklyn Ave.


-The ECC front entrance is wheelchair accessible and the Unity Room is on the first floor, to the right of the entrance.


-An all-genders restroom can be found on every floor of the ECC, as well as binary bathrooms with multiple stalls.


-The ECC is not kept scent-free but we ask that you do not wear scented/fragranced products (e.g. perfume, hair products) or essential oils to/in the ECC in order to make the space accessible to those with chemical injury or multiple chemical sensitivity.

-We ask that smokers also store their coats/outer clothing that is regularly exposed to smoke outside the event space if possible (we will provide space for these items). We will have a scent-free area that is monitored by volunteers. We will have baking soda and scent free soap available if folks are asked to wash off scents.


-For more information about MCS and being fragrance free:





Q Center:

The Q Center is on the UW Campus in HUB 315, near landmarks such as Allen Library, Padelford and Sieg. For a map, search HUB on the campus maps:http://www.washington.edu/maps/.

University District Metro Bus Routes can be found here:http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/bus/neighborhoods/university_district.html

Driving directions:

From I -5  (Exit NE 45th), East on 45th, Right on Memorial Way NE, Left on NE Stevens Way.

More info: http://hub.washington.edu/directions

Padelford Parking Garage is the nearest parking lot to the HUB. Accessible parking is available in N-22, the parking lot near the HUB’s north entrance. Please make parking arrangements at any one of the gatehouses upon entering campus or contact UW Commuter Services (http://www.washington.edu/facilities/transportation/commuterservices/parking). There is also potential street parking surrounding the campus, on 15th Ave and University Way.

The HUB’s front entrance is wheelchair accessible and the Lyceum is on the first floor, to the right of the main desk, at the end of the hallway.

An all-genders restroom can be found down the hallway from the Q Center. Binary bathrooms with multiple stalls can be found on every floor of the HUB.

The HUB is not kept scent-free but we ask that you do not wear scented/fragranced products (e.g. perfume, hair products) or essential oils to/in the Q Center in order to make the space accessible to those with chemical injury or multiple chemical sensitivity.

Event info: We ask that smokers also store their coats/outer clothing that is regularly exposed to smoke outside the event space if possible (we will provide space for these items). We will have a scent-free area that is monitored by volunteers. We will have baking soda and scent free soap available if folks are asked to wash off scents.

The Q Center is Going Abroad!

For the first time in our 10-year history, the Q Center is offering an Exploration Seminar to Barcelona, Spain! The seminar, Spain: Advancing Queer Policy Throughout the World?, is led by Q Center staff Jaimée Marsh and Jen Self, with sponsorship and support from the UW School of Social Work and CISAbroad. Both undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of academic disciplines will join us for this five-credit early fall course, beginning August 24 and running through September 16, 2015. The focus of the program is a comparative analysis of LGBTQ rights, social movements and the ways in which social policies affect the lived experiences of LGBTQ people in Spain and the U.S. We are ecstatic about offering this opportunity to students and making history as the first LGBTQ-themed Exploration Seminar at the UW, as well as the only UW faculty-led program in Barcelona.


For more information, visit http://tinyurl.com/qcenterabroad or contact Jaimée Marsh at jaimeem@uw.edu or 206-897-1430.




Being a Queer Queer

TW: discussion of eating disorders, talk of dysphoria

I’ve been trying to accept myself as someone who is queer and know that that’s not a thing I can ever change. But hanging out in queer spaces make me feel like I’m being queer in the wrong way, that everyone has to be throwing out rainbow pride and explicitly say “I’M GAY” and because of it I feel invalidated. So I hang around my straight female friends who, despite accepting my sexuality fully, remind me that I will never be satisfied with the body I was born into and no matter how many surgeries I undergo, I will never be a cis masculine man. I guess my main question would be how do I get rid of this low self-worth?

Continue reading

[Nov. 22] Laura Jane Grace from Against Me! @ UW


Location: Husky Union Building (North Ballroom)
Date: 11.22.14 | 7PM

In collaboration with ASUW A&EASUW Queer Student Commission, and the Q Center at the University of Washington on November 22nd, lead singer and transgender-activist Laura Jane Grace of the band Against Me! will be speaking and performing an acoustic set at the University of Washington. As one of the first and most prominent rock musicians to come out as transgender, Laura Jane Grace is at the forefront of trans-activism. In 2012, Laura wrote an op-ed in Rolling Stone magazine, chronicling her journey over the past few years. And more recently the band Against Me! released the critically acclaimed album “Transgender Dysphoria Blues.” Against Me! is set to tour behind the new record in 2014 with an attitude perhaps best summed up by their lyrics: “No more troubled sleep. There’s a brave new world raging inside of me.”


Online: www.bit.ly/LJG_UW or at the HUB Front Desk.

• $8 UW w/ current ID
• $15 general admission
• 11.22.14 | 7PM @ North Ballroom of UW Hub



ASL interpreters and captioning are currently being organized. More details to come.

The building and ballroom are wheelchair accessible.

Bathrooms are on the same floor as the performance, and they will be made all-gender for the evening. Additionally, there is a universal restroom on the 3rd floor of the HUB (one floor above the ballroom) available for use.

We ask that you please be fragrance free. For the health and well being of community members with chemical sensitivity, please abstain from using scented cosmetics, clothing, etc. Baking soda will be provided. For more info:http://eastbaymeditation.org/accessibility/PDF/How-to-Be-Fragrance-Free-.pdf

To request another disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at: 206.543.6450 (voice), 206.543.6452 (TTY), 206.685.7264 (fax), or email at dhhreq@uw.edu.

Student Spotlight (Fall 2014)

Meet our new and fabulously fierce student staff, and learn what they are working on this year!

Eliza, Dennis, and Natalie

Pictured: Eliza Wu, Dennis Coy Denman, and Natalie Yocum

Eliza Wu

Pronouns: she/her; they/them
Role @ Q Center: Outreach Coordinator, QPOCA member
Other involvement: Drama BA Council member, School of Drama Advisory Board member
Year/Major: Senior in English and drama
What are you excited to work on this year? I am so excited to be engaging with our UW Q community, seeing and bringing in new faces. I’m especially looking forward to planning more outreach events in the coming year.
What mythical, magical animal would you be? A mer-fairy. Think a mermaid… WITH WINGS.


Natalie Yocum

Pronouns: ze/hir/hirs or they/them/theirs
Role @ Q Center: Queer People of Color Advocate
Other Involvement: Facilitates Advo-QTs (queer and trans advocacy and activism), helps with QPOCA, Communications Director for the Young Democrats at the University of Washington, 499 student researcher on Project DART, Peer Health Educator, practices Aerial Silks
Year/Major: 2nd-year transfer student (junior), psychology major, GWSS/dance minors
What are you excited to work on this year? Open mics/events where we get to share stories, and kicking it with my awesome co-workers.
What mythical magical animal would you be? Maybe a dragon spirit?


Dennis Coy Denman

Pronouns: he/him
Role @ Q Center: Queer Mentoring Program Coordinator
Year/Degree: 1st-year master’s student in leadership in higher education program
What are you excited to work on this year? I’m excited about helping to share Q center resources with the campus partners and grad students.
What mythical, magical animal would you be? A fire-breathing dolphin.

An Evening with Janet Mock

Janet Mock and Q Center Director Jen Self

For more pics like these, follow us on Instagram @uwqcenter.

On October 14, the Q Center’s Director, Jen Self, moderated a discussion with Janet Mock, a writer, an advocate for trans women’s rights and the New York Times bestselling author of Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. Janet spoke on a wide range of topics and answered students’ questions about her book, talked about living at the intersections of identities and provided commentary on pop culture and current events. The event packed Kane Hall and drew hundreds of viewers via the live web broadcast, resulting in the single largest event the Q Center has ever hosted!

The Q Center would like to extend a special thank you to our co-sponsors, Rainbow Grads and the Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center and Theater. For those who were unable to attend, the Q Center has a recording that can be viewed in the center or online here (a UW Net ID is required to access the video). Photos and comments from the night are also viewable online on Tagboard.

Welcome Back! The 11th Annual Welcome Luncheon

The Q Center Welcome Luncheon, held on Friday, October 3, welcomed students, faculty and staff members to the beginning of the academic school year. The Q Center, now in its 11th year at the UW, facilitates and enhances a brave, affirming, liberating and celebratory environment for students, faculty, staff and alumni of all sexual and gender orientation, identities and expressions.

Q Center Director Jen Self and Assistant Director Jaimée Marsh

Pictured: Jen Self (Director) and Jaimée Marsh (Assistant Director)

Every year, in collaboration with the ASUW Queer Student Commission, the luncheon kicks off with free food, dynamic speakers and fun for everyone. This year, more than 150 people attended, including first-year and returning undergraduates and graduate students, as well as members of the Queer Faculty and Staff Association. Our Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Dr. Ed Taylor, greeted everyone and we heard an inspirational keynote speech by the Q Center’s very own Assistant Director, Jaimée Marsh. She gave us life, she gave us hope and she celebrated the identities that make us all who we are. The food was great and the MC was hilarious! Q folks left with more than a free sandwich – they walked out of the HUB Lyceum equipped with the resources, knowledge, and supportive community to be successful this academic school year.