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LGBT Resource Center Proposal

A Proposal for the creation of a LGBT Resource Center for Johns Hopkins University

Prepared for:   President Ron Daniels
Date:                  March 14, 2012
Prepared by:    LGBT Resource Center Working Group

Lorie Benning 1,11
Erin Clark4,11
Eva DuGoff1,11
Michael Falk2,12
Liesel Fischer7,12
Sheila Graham1,7,12
Debra Howe6,8
Linda Kress6,8
Susan Kuhn1,3,13
Pam McCann1,10
Ben Panico2,12
Mariela Pinedo2,12
Diego Salume2,12
Brian Schneider6,8
Carl Streed Jr.4,10
Brent Turner4,11
Mark Ridderhoff5,9
Michael Varhol7,12

1Johns Hopkins Diversity Leadership Council;
2Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance;
3Gay Straight Alliance;
4Gertrude Stein Society;
5The Network of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Employees and Supporters;
6Allies in the Workplace;
7 Johns Hopkins Counseling Center;
8Applied Physics Lab;
9Johns Hopkins Medicine;
10Johns Hopkins School of Medicine;
11Johns Hopkins School of Public Health;
12Johns Hopkins University (Homewood);
13Peabody Institute

Executive Summary

Johns Hopkins University needs a dedicated center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LBGT) Education and Resources. We make this bold statement as a direct response to the mission of Johns Hopkins University, the vision of the Diversity Leadership Committee and the leadership of President Daniels and Dean Miller, and Johns Hopkins’ reputation as a major educational, research and health institution.

As a historically marginalized minority in the United States, LGBT members of the Johns Hopkins community face discrimination and isolation both within and beyond the walls of Johns Hopkins. To begin to combat these challenges, Johns Hopkins must dedicate resources that provide institutional support and visibility for this marginalized community.  After much discussion and deliberation, a broad committee of students, faculty and staff of the Johns Hopkins Institutions collaborated in the creation and endorsement of this proposal requesting the establishment of an independent, staffed, and funded LGBT Resource Center. A LGBT Resource Center will stand as part of Johns Hopkins’ vision to embrace equality and diversity, supporting the Institution’s role as a leader in research, patient care, and education.

A Resource Center that is professionally staffed, has adequate administrative support, and centrally located is a necessity to meet the unique needs of the LGBT community.  Once established, the Resource Center will also be able to efficiently gather and organize Johns Hopkins resources across the various campuses and become the focal point for LGBT programming, research, outreach and education.

In addition to meeting the needs of current members of the Hopkins community, the creation of the Resource Center will allow Johns Hopkins to continue to recruit and retain the most talented people around the world. As a visible symbol of the Institutions’ equality, diversity and commitment to the creation of a culture where everyone’s contributions are valued, members of a largely invisible identity will be attracted to research, work and study at Johns Hopkins.


This proposal for an independent, staffed, and funded LGBT Resource Center is presented by a committee of students, faculty and staff representing various stakeholders and groups across the Johns Hopkins institutions.

A physical LGBT Resource Center maintains and broadens visibility by providing resources and support to students, faculty, staff, alumni, providers and donors.  It would stand as part of Johns Hopkins’ vision to embrace equality and diversity, ensuring the Institution would maintain and broaden its role as a leader in research, patient care and education.

The LGBT population faces challenges of discrimination and isolation both within and beyond the walls of Johns Hopkins. The Hopkins LGBT community needs institutional support, visibility, and resources.   The Resource Center is envisioned as centrally located with adequate professional staff and will meet the critical needs of the Hopkins community as identified by its constituents.  The LGBT Resource Center will allow the recruitment and retention of the most talented people while fostering a culture where everyone’s contributions are valued. It will stand out as a prime example of the organization’s commitment to equality, inclusion and diversity.

Research, a pillar of Johns Hopkins mission, would benefit from a LGBT Resource Center. Recruitment of high caliber researchers rests on the reputation and quality of Johns Hopkins as a world class facility.  An open and warm campus climate is key to the ability to attract the best and brightest.  The LGBT Resource Center will increase the perception and reality of Johns Hopkins as an open and inviting environment.  It will attract and support our distinguished faculty while offering a direct gathering point for LGBT stakeholders. Under the guidance of its Director, it will facilitate conversations about LGBT research by providing a central space for collaboration and knowledge exchange.


A lack of visible institutional support for LGBT faculty staff and students has contributed to a climate that prohibits this population from achieving their full potential as individuals and members of the Johns Hopkins community. Over the course of the past two years, the Diversity Leadership Committee (DLC) has expressed increasing concern for the lack of visible resources devoted to retaining LGBT faculty, staff and students.  Though many DLC members can offer examples of support, little or no institutional support is available for best practices or guidance in hiring, recruiting and retaining LGBT faculty staff or students. Nationally, LGBT visibility is at a political and cultural highpoint, further highlighting lack of visible investment at Johns Hopkins.

In February 2009 the DLC administered a climate survey to faculty and staff across all divisions of Johns Hopkins.  Results from that survey showed lower satisfaction among LGBT faculty and staff.  To the question, “Overall how satisfied are you with your experience at Johns Hopkins,” 76% of LGBT respondents answered “satisfied” or “very satisfied” compared to 82% of all respondents.  To the statement, “I am treated with civility by my colleagues,” LGBT respondents scored 11% lower. To the statement, “Overall, I am satisfied with the climate in Johns Hopkins,” LGBT respondents scored 19% lower.

On the basis of these disparities, the DLC hosted two focus groups for Johns Hopkins LGBT stakeholders: a conference call in December 2009 with over 50 participants and an in-person meeting in March 2010 with 17 participants. In both groups, participants were asked what type of programs, policies, and initiatives would make Johns Hopkins a better place for members of the LGBT community. Significantly, in both focus groups, participants stated they would like a LGBT umbrella group that would facilitate networking opportunities among other LGBT faculty, staff and students.

In 2010, the DLC student climate survey (including undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral, certificate programs and special students), found similar results (for instrument, see Appendix D).  Responding to the statement that Johns Hopkins provides a supportive environment for all students, 57% of transgendered/other/unanswered students agreed or strongly agreed compared to 76% of males and 75% of females; 64% of bisexual, gay, and lesbians and 64% of other/unanswered agreed or strongly agreed compared to 77% of heterosexual students (see Appendix E).  The survey also asked questions about encouragement of communication among different types of students.  Sixty-six percent of respondents answered “always” or “almost always” to the statement that Johns Hopkins encourages communication among students of different genders compared to 58% for students of different races and ethnicities, 39% for students of different sexual orientations, and 36% for students with different mental and physical abilities.  Furthermore, only 9% and 8% of respondents answered “not applicable” for gender and race/ethnicity compared to 18% and 20% for sexual orientations and mental/physical ability.  The survey did not ask why a respondent replied “not applicable” but one explanation for this difference may be that students at Johns Hopkins may not be concerned with sexual minorities or those with mental/physical disabilities.

In August 2011, the DLC formed a sub-committee charged with researching and organizing information to develop recommendations on the creation of a Center that would serve all stakeholders in the Johns Hopkins Community. Members of the DLC subcommittee have collaborated with LGBT-identified faculty, staff, and students and their allies across the Johns Hopkins Institutions to document the need for a LGBT Resource Center.  As the subcommittee began meeting, independent LGBT-themed programming and educational events began to occur across the institution, indicating the timeliness of this proposal.  

In the last academic year (2010-2011) the School of Nursing hosted a Transgender Education Series open to faculty, staff and students.  In the spring of 2011 the School of Public Health began development of a LGBT Certificate Program to be piloted with an institute summer course in 2012.  In October 2011 School of Public Health hosted a panel discussion cosponsored by the Dean and  the Committee on Equity Diversity and Civility (CEDC) entitled "Perspectives on LGBT Life: Learning, Teaching, Working at Hopkins." Inspired by University of California San Francisco, the School of Medicine Office of Student Affairs initiated the popular Hopkins OUTList (see Appendix G).  The Hopkins Center for Heath Disparities Solutions offered a webinar this past October entitled, "Advancing LGBT Patient-Centered Care: Strategies to Create an Inclusive Environment." Staff and faculty came together as an affinity group at the medical campus as a direct result of perceived lack of resources and information.  This group, The Network, was the first LGBT community group at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  The Network complements existing affinity groups for both undergraduate and graduate students, staff, and faculty across multiple Hopkins campuses.  

The DLC LGBT Resource Center subcommittee began by identifying all possible stakeholders. With the goal of casting a wide net of concerned community members interested in the creation of a LGBT Resource Center for Johns Hopkins.  Leaders and stakeholders from Johns Hopkins University at Homewood, Peabody Institute, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Public Health, Applied Physics Lab and Johns Hopkins Health System were invited to participate in research, writing and editing. 

This proposal presents short term goals we believe to be realistically achievable by the end of the 2012-2013 academic year and long term goals we believe to be realistically achievable by the end of the 2016-2017 academic year.

Review of Peer Institutions

Using the U.S. News and World Reports list of top 15 Colleges and Universities a chart was created outlining peer institutions offerings for LGBT Resources (see Appendix H). Specific information was sought on the following variables:  dedicated space, a designated full-time staff person, the existence of affinity groups, programs offered, resources available and the placement of the center within organizational charts.  While reviewing peer institutions it was remarkably easy to find information.  In each case, performing a simple key word “LGBT” and “Gay” resulted in numerous online hits for resources and information.  Performing a similar internet query at the Johns Hopkins web portal garnered little information, demonstrating a significant need. 

Of the top 15, Johns Hopkins and Dartmouth are the only institutions that do not have a dedicated LGBT center; the remaining 13 institutions all offer a LGBT Resource Center in some form.  In terms of physical spaces LGBT centers varied widely.  Some LGBT offices are housed in Student Activity Centers, or combined with Multicultural or Women’s Centers while others were stand-alone buildings.  Each offers some type of Office Hour or Drop-In times that affords students safe space to spend time with their peers.  Programming space was offered at every institution.  Columbia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale each offered LGBT affinity housing. Harvard offered gender-neutral housing in addition to a LGBT housing option.

The top 10 Colleges and Universities offer the most comprehensive services including a complete cadre of staff members (i.e. Director, Assistant Director, Graduate Assistants and student staff), LGBT-themed library collections, coordinated campus-wide education and speaker series, training programs for Allies, Safe Space, Transgender 101 and mentoring across the student spectrum.  In most instances graduate students formed their own affinity groups by specialty (law, medicine, and engineering).  Graduate student groups, much like Johns Hopkins’ Gertrude Stein Society, offered a range of social and educational programming for their members.  Graduate student groups also offered resources to the larger community such as LGBT Gender and Sexuality clinics and LGBT Law Clinics.  The most readily available information was for undergraduate students, followed by graduate students, then faculty, staff and parents of undergraduate students.  In addition to online resources a majority of institutions offered newsletters and LGBT-specific guides for prospective students, 1st year students and graduate students. This eye-opening research offers real-world examples of possible programming, staffing and reporting models Johns Hopkins could adopt.  As Johns Hopkins possesses its own unique identity and characteristics, we are poised to develop our own program that would serve as a model for other world class institutions.  In summary as a member of the top 15 educational institutions in the United States, Johns Hopkins University is lagging behind its peer institutions in terms of providing visible means of support, educational programming and services for the LGBT community.  

Statement of Need and Anticipated Benefits

Johns Hopkins is a diverse community comprised of students, academicians, health professionals, and a myriad of staff that produces the best research, education and patient care.  Johns Hopkins is a community where students learn to become contributing members of the public sphere; families bring their sick loved ones for cutting edge treatment and care; and future leaders train in international affairs, public health, engineering and the sciences.  Despite these worthy accomplishments Johns Hopkins has also fostered the perception of a climate where LGBT faculty, staff and students feel isolated and unsupported. This is unacceptable.  Johns Hopkins needs to become more a welcoming community for LGBT faculty, staff, and students.

The health and well-being of LGBT students is of particular concern. Before arriving at Johns Hopkins, many LGBT youth are exposed to harassment, bullying, and discrimination. A 2009 survey by the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) reported that 9 out of 10 LGBT middle school and high school respondents reported being harassed at school within the past year and two-thirds reported feeling unsafe [i]. Numerous studies have found that LGBT young adults are at greater risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation [ii].  For those students who need clinical support, we believe the Johns Hopkins University Counseling Center is well equipped to provide the necessary services. However, we believe a more LGBT inclusive and friendly community may alleviate some of this need.

It speaks well of Johns Hopkins that LGBT groups exist on each campus and location. Many of the LGBT people and their allies at Johns Hopkins have found ways to build community, whether small or large, formal or informal.  Groups have learned to work together towards common academic, political, or social goals in order to support each other and Johns Hopkins at large.  Affinity groups are a sign of the resilience and strength that the LGBT communities possess.  However, these volunteer organizations do not have sufficient resources to meet the current demand.  The proposed LGBT Resource Center is an opportunity to support and strengthen existing networks, programming and opportunities for growth. We believe a LGBT Resource Center can provide cross-Hopkins connections and institutional support that convey genuine respect for our work and community.  A LGBT Resource Center will deepen our relationships, strengthen our professional resources and enhance Johns Hopkins as an institution.

Stakeholder Statements

The statements below were solicited from various student (DSAGA, Peabody GSA, GSS), employee (The Network, Allies in the Workplace), and professional (Counseling Center) groups.  This feedback from stakeholders across the University and Health System indicates a common need for a centralized resource center. The various groups cited difficulty when trying to collaborate with other groups, especially when their home bases were on separate campuses. Furthermore, it became apparent that many of the organizations offered similar and redundant services that could benefit from the sharing of lessons learned across the various campuses. Lastly, the leadership transition and training process poses unique challenges depending on the availability of previous officers. A single LGBT resource center could provide a centralized and constant support system that fosters collaborative efforts across these geographically disparate stakeholder groups by facilitating dialogue among group leaders, coordinating programs and activities, and providing training materials.

Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance (DSAGA)

The Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance, or DSAGA, is the LGBT student organization on the Homewood Campus of the Johns Hopkins University. Our mission includes embracing diversity, promoting awareness about LGBT issues and counteracting homophobia in order to create a safe space on campus. Our meetings encourage students to familiarize themselves with all aspects of the LGBT community. We provide a safe environment for students to socialize openly with their fellow students and to explore their own identities. A LGBT resource center would help make the LGBT community more visible, which consequently would expand our safe space to the entire campus.

In order to educate our members about LGBT issues, we organize each meeting around one theme that we explore through activities, presentations and discussions. A LGBT resource center would improve the effectiveness of these meetings by making available expertise and high-quality materials. The resource center would also facilitate the planning and organization of more ambitious events that engage a broader cross-section of the campus community. Our meetings are a safe space for students to comfortably share their personal experiences so our members can learn from each other. Having a physical resource center would create a more official and permanent safe space for students to visit whenever they need a private environment to discuss an issue or to obtain information related to LGBT matters.

DSAGA is working with faculty and staff members to develop a Safe Zone Training Program with the purpose of engaging the ally population at Johns Hopkins in order to ensure that campus is a safe space for individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities. The Training Program consists of workshop sessions during which attendees will participate in discussions and activities that will educate them in LGBT-related topics and teach them how to become effective allies to the LGBT community. An ally is an individual who appreciates and proactively supports the LGBT community by confronting the harmful attitudes of others. Spreading awareness through this program will increase the visibility of the LGBT community, which will help students better understand and interact with one another, creating a more diverse and supportive community. The resource center will supervise the implementation of this program for groups on campus, such as resident advisers and fraternities and sororities, as well as any faculty, staff and students who wish to become active supporters of the LGBT community.

B-more Proud

DSAGA members led the Johns Hopkins representation in B-More Proud.  The B-More Proud Committee is an organization that coordinates activities for LGBT students, faculty and staff

from a consortium of Baltimore area colleges and universities. B-More Proud activities include an academic conference on topics of gender and sexuality, a mixer for LGBT staff and a leadership summit for students.  The B-More Proud Leadership Summit provides a venue for college students to connect with other students in the Baltimore area and network with local businesses and non-profit organizations that openly support the LGBT community.  The first such summit was held in 2010 at Towson University and was organized by two Johns Hopkins undergraduates who served as co-chairs. The Leadership Summit helps strengthen the relationship between students on Baltimore campuses and the Baltimore LGBT community, as well as provide a space for student-generated dialogue on topics important for LGBT students. The summit is a place for students to learn about LGBT-related topics, such as safe sex and issues in the workplace, through breakout sessions, which are led by students and outside groups. The 2011 Leadership Summit was held at Johns Hopkins, and sessions were led by various organizations including Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), National Organization of Scientific and Technical Professionals and Chase-Brexton Clinic.  Additionally, the summit also brings in diverse speakers such as the 2011 keynote speakers: Staff Sergeant Eric Alva and poet author Staceyann Chin.  The 2012 summit will be held at University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Participation in B-More Proud provides a mechanism for Johns Hopkins to take a leadership role in LGBT inclusiveness among our local Baltimore university campuses, but our effectiveness is limited by not having professional staff to provide a durable point of contact.  The resource center could participate within B-More Proud to build relationships between Johns Hopkins community members and their colleagues on other Baltimore campuses.

Peabody Gay-Straight Alliance

The Peabody Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) is a group of diverse individuals who want to make Peabody a supportive and welcoming environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, transgender, intersex, and queer, questioning and allied students, staff and faculty members. Our mission is to create a safe environment for community members to support one another and learn about homophobia and other prejudices; to educate and raise awareness in the Peabody community about homophobia, gender identity, and sexual orientation issues; to fight discrimination, harassment, and violence against LGBT people in our community; and to provide a forum for discussion encouraging diverse viewpoints.

A LGBT Resource Center would benefit the Peabody GSA by helping to further our mission of creating a safe school environment.  As a campus space removed from Homewood and the Medical Campus the Peabody would stand to benefit from the creation of this center that would increase communication, share resources and develop enhanced programming across all of Johns Hopkins.

Gertrude Stein Society

The Gertrude Stein Society is a tri-school organization for LGBT members of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions; School of Medicine (SOM), School of Nursing (SON) and School of Public Health (SPH).Our members believe that the LGBT community enriches the diverse environment at Johns Hopkins and in the health professions.  Our dedication to provide a supportive environment, while offering an array of educational and social events, would be greatly enhanced by a LGBT Resource Center. While our events are typically held on the East Baltimore campus, we yearn to be part of the greater Hopkins LGBT community in order to collaborate on ideas and events taking place at the other campuses. The prospect of a LGBT resource center is encouraging because it would serve to bring each of the different LGBT organizations together in order to better serve the Hopkins students, faculty, and staff. 

The Network

Staff and faculty came together to form an affinity group for LGBT Faculty and Staff at the medical campus. This group, The Network of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Employees and Supporters (The  Network), is the first community of its kind for Johns Hopkins Hospital and complements the current groups that exist for both undergraduate and graduate students, staff, and faculty across multiple Hopkins campuses.  Each member of The Network is affiliated with Johns Hopkins or an affiliated institution.  The Network seeks to create a welcoming and affirming environment for LGBT employees, patients, families and friends by promoting social and intellectual enrichment and networking opportunities. 

The Network’s goals are: Community Relations, increasing the visibility and public image of Johns Hopkins in the targeted community to the degree prescribed by Johns Hopkins and the overall Johns Hopkins mission statement; Organizing events, targeting existing events and creating new opportunities to reach targeted community; and an Employee Resource Group, through collaboration with other Employee Resource Groups.  The Network would benefit from a LGBT Resource Center by expanding its ability to program and educate the larger Johns Hopkins community.  Additionally, the LGBT Resource Center would offer resources to Johns Hopkins supervisors and managers and improve the overall climate.

Allies in the Workplace

Until recently, the LGBT community at the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) was largely invisible.  Although APL has provided domestic partner health benefits for many years, the LGBT community at APL was largely nonexistent in any meaningful sense of the word “community,” resulting in what one Allies in the Workplace member referred to as a pervasive “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” workplace environment.  During its fledgling year, Allies in the Workplace has been working with very receptive APL leadership to create a more inclusive environment.  A LGBT resource center will aid Allies in the Workplace by providing information and supportive resource as the affinity group strives to become established.

The goal of increased visibility, safety and resources for the LGBT community at each of the Johns Hopkins divisions benefits the Johns Hopkins community as a whole.  According to a 2009 Human Rights Campaign Survey, LGBT employees are less likely to be out if the perceived work environment is unwelcoming or hostile [iii].  Not being out takes a significant cognitive and emotional toll on LGBT employees; closeted employees report being 73% more likely than their open counterparts to plan on leaving their current company within the next three years [iv].  The benefits of an environment in which people feel comfortable being open about their sexual orientation apply not only to members of the LGBT community, but to heterosexual employees as well.  A recent UCLA study found that “disclosure of sexual orientation can lead to positive performance outcomes [of study participants] during sustained interactions [with gay males] [v].”

Members of Allies in the Workplace are passionate about LGBT issues, especially regarding the nationally prominent issue of bullying of LGBT youth, which too often results in suicide.  Allies in the Workplace envisions collaborating with other LGBT groups in the larger Johns Hopkins community via the LGBT Resource Center to create an “It Gets Better Video.”  This video will inform potential students, faculty, and staff that Johns Hopkins welcomes and supports the LGBT community, as well as offer encouragement to at-risk LGBT youth, a population that is two-to-three times more likely to commit suicide than its heterosexual counterpart [vi].

The LGBT Resource Center will benefit APL by increasing the visibility of the LGBT community and providing a cross-institution resource to aid the newly formed APL LGBT affinity group, Allies in the Workplace.  Allies’ mission is to “advocate for issues of importance to members and the larger gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community and supporters of the community [vii].”  The resource center will allow the LGBT community at APL to connect with LGBT-friendly health care providers, stay informed about recent research relevant to the LGBT community, participate in social and networking events, have access to higher-profile speakers for Allies in the Workplace events, and provide support to the larger Johns Hopkins LGBT community.

The Johns Hopkins University Counseling Center

The Johns Hopkins University Counseling Center, located on the Homewood campus, serves full-time undergraduate and graduate students in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the Whiting School of Engineering and the Peabody Conservatory of Music.  The Counseling Center’s mission includes providing services that facilitate the personal growth and development of students, and fostering a caring, healthy university community.  The Counseling Center offers individual and group therapy; psychiatric services; 24-hour crisis response; and outreach and consultation for members of the University community.

During the 2010-2011 Academic Year, 1,028 students received services at the Counseling Center.  Prior to their first appointment, students complete intake paperwork to illuminate their current concerns.  Within a list of 45-items addressing common concerns, students are asked whether their current distress is connected to various areas one of which includes “issues related to gay/lesbian identity.”  Of the students responding to this item, approximately 8% endorsed having concerns directly linked to sexual orientation.  The percentage of Counseling Center clients who identified concerns related to sexual orientation is, therefore, more than twice as high as the national average of LGBT individuals in general. This suggests that LGBT students may have a particular struggle at Johns Hopkins, and are therefore in need of targeted supports.

It is important to highlight that the number of students identifying sexual orientation as a concern may not equal the number of LGBT students seeking services in general.  Because how one sexually identifies was not uniformly addressed in intake paperwork, it is likely that a larger number of students seeking services at the Counseling Center identify as LGBT or questioning.   Additionally, while many members of the LGBT population may not identify mental health concerns as being directly related to their sexual identity, other struggles (e.g. academic concerns, interpersonal difficulties, career uncertainty, and familial conflict) may be connected to this identity in ways that were not apparent to the student at intake.

Studies indicate that LGBT individuals struggle with higher incidences of depression and suicidal ideation, which have been linked to personal experiences involving harassment, discrimination, lack of social supports, limited resources, and interpersonal conflict [viii].  A common sentiment expressed amongst LGBT students utilizing our mental health services is an overall dissatisfaction with the LGBT community at Hopkins.  Several have expressed feeling isolated since a visible presence of a gay culture on campus is lacking, particularly in regards to other LGBT students, university organizations, and resources.  The presence of a LGBT Resource Center, be it physical or in cyberspace, would provide a tangible source of support and visible symbol of the institution’s commitment to this subgroup of its community.  Increased knowledge surrounding LGBT issues has also been found to elevate social acceptance and tolerance in the general population [ix].  A LGBT resource center provides students not only with materials to assist them in their personal growth but also with credible resources to share with their families and others in the University community.

Faculty, Staff and Student Recruitment and Retention


An ongoing priority for the Johns Hopkins University and Medical Institutions is recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, students and staff. LGBT faculty recruitment presents both an opportunity and a risk for the institution since the competitive position of a university vis-à-vis peer institutions depends on many factors that are outside a university’s purview such as state marriage, adoption and inheritance laws.  LGBT faculty face distinct challenges finding employers that will provide fair access to spousal health care, family benefits and welcoming work environments. 

LGBT faculty, particularly those with family members, are likely to weigh the current legal situation in the state as well as the supports available for them and their families to meet their physical and social needs.  These include access to physicians who are willing to advertise their knowledge of LGBT health concerns, information about LGBT friendly schools, community groups and support services, and access to social networks that are part-and-parcel of a supportive work environment.  A LGBT resource center as envisioned in this proposal could meet these needs as well as playing an active role in recruiting and welcoming high-achieving LGBT scholars.

Many of the same issues and considerations are faced by LGBT staff.   Perspective employees must balance their own workplace safety with the rewards and benefits of working at a world class institution.  A LGBT Resource Center that provides a visible sense of welcome and connection offers a unique and valuable recruiting tool for department chairs and administrators. 

As a work force, members of the LGBT population exhibit highly desirable traits.  A recent significant study by the Center for Work-Life Study, The Power of Out, found that LGBT employees are more likely to obtain graduate degrees, more likely to “go the extra mile” and are more committed and ambitious [x].  The caveat to this research is that only LGBT employees who feel safe in their work environments are able to perform and accomplish at greater levels.  The same Center for Work-Life study found that out LGBT employees produced more work than employees who felt compelled to remain closeted. The message is clear: out employees are able to create and produce in a safe and welcoming environment while those working in a less hospitable environment tend to produce less or leave their employment.    Sylvia Ann Hewlett, coauthor of The Power of Out, stated her findings best:  “Organizations that encourage all of their employees to bring their whole selves to work have the greatest opportunity for innovation and growth.”  Lastly, supported LGBT faculty and staff are better able to provide support and guidance to one of our most valuable stakeholders, students. 


For the recruitment and retention of LGBT undergraduate, graduate and medical students it is especially crucial that we create and sustain a LGBT Resource Center.  As indicated earlier in this report, Johns Hopkins peer institutions offer visible resources for LGBT students as a part of their recruiting and retention efforts.  A LGBT Resource Center would elevate our offerings to the level of competing academic institutions and increase Johns Hopkins ability to attract the best and brightest students.  A Johns Hopkins LGBT Resource Center, with dedicated space, staff, and web presence would maintain a high level of visibility for the LGBT community at Hopkins and as such be an excellent tool for recruiting top student talent.

To date the SOM has been the most explicit and proactive about recruiting LGBT students.  The recent creation of the OUTList and earlier cited programming are excellent examples of increased education efforts.  This mirrors what is taking place nationally.  For example, the American Medical Student Association recommends that accurate comprehensive information on the LGBT community be included in the medical student curriculum [xi].   LGBT issues in medical curricula are improving at the SOM, SON and SPH thanks to the dedication of a small group of students, faculty, and staff. However, efforts are not easily maintained since students are here for a finite period of time for their training, and faculty and staff have a limited amount of volunteer time to offer to this endeavor: there are no faculty or staff hired specifically to address LGBT issues at the SOM.  The creation of a Johns Hopkins LGBT Resource Center with dedicated space, staff, and budget would be able to subsume and amplify these efforts at the School of Medicine and across all of Hopkins. Additionally, students and the administration have made a concerted effort to ensure applicants to the school of medicine are aware of the LGBT community at Hopkins and in Baltimore. Unfortunately, these efforts wax and wane with student involvement, and, as a consequence, though Hopkins is a welcoming environment, prospective students are unaware of the LGBT community at Hopkins [xii].

Vision: The First Five Years

Over the 2012 - 2013 academic year a national search will take place to find a Director of the LGBT Resource Center.  The first year the Center’s vision and work will focus on the creation of the Virtual Center.  The Virtual Center will allow for the collaborative work begun by the Resource Center Proposal Committee to smoothly transition to a permanent Advisory Board for LGBT Concerns.  The board would advise the Director on policy issues and set priorities. It is expected that the board would participate in the selection process for the Center Director.

LGBT Resource Director

In order to fulfill the above outlined needs  the importance of hiring and retaining a full-time professional staff member with expert knowledge of LGBT history, programming, services and best practices to serve the needs of the University and Health System cannot be overemphasized. The new Director will guide the development of the LGBT Resource Center from its inception as an on-line entity to the creation of a physical space. 

In order to accomplish this goal the director will have to actively interface with all stakeholders in order to bridge the gaps between faculty, staff, students, administration and the larger community.  The Director will integrate the efforts of our geographically disparate groups and maximize resources towards best practices, celebration and increased safety of the whole of LGBT community at Johns Hopkins.

Preferred Qualifications

The new director should posses a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration, Women’s Studies, Counseling, Sociology, Psychology or other relevant field.  Additional qualifications should include a demonstrated progressive administrative experience in programming and advocacy for the LGBT population; commitment to and understanding of issues related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied students, faculty and staff; and demonstrated experience with collaboration, community organizing and supervision of volunteers and undergraduate and graduate students. The director should have knowledge of current literature and research in LGBT studies.  

Suggested Responsibilities

Provide leadership in developing programs and services that promote the academic, personal and professional achievement of the LGBT faculty, staff and students.  Develop broad awareness and support for issues of particular concern for LGBT stakeholders within the university through participation in campus planning and committees as well as serve as a principal advisor to the larger community on LGBT issues.  Management of the newly developed OUTList including management of new members and website content. Additional responsibilities include but are not limited to performing annual reviews of programming and services offered, seek grant funding and collaboration with various university departments as well as corporate and community leaders to implement programs and events.

Suggested Programming

It is the expectation of this committee that the Director will be a major change agent for Johns Hopkins as an institution.  Programming is a concrete way in which the institution can move from being siloed to unified in its goal of improving the campus climate for the LGBT community. To that end, the Director should be able create and implement highly visible high yield programming that bridges the gaps between faculty, staff, students and administration.  We envision that the Director would work closely with other departments such as the Center for Social Concerns, The Counseling Center, the Office of Institutional Equity and Admissions to promote, integrate and celebrate the experiences of the LGBT community within campus life. 

More concretely the LGBT Resource Center would provide education programs such as Ally and Safe Zone Training that actively create a safer campus climate for faculty, staff and students. It would serve as a physical safe space for LGBT stakeholders and allies to meet, plan and develop community. This would include providing resources and support for faculty, staff and students with issues related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Lastly, the Director would serve as an expert/consultant for the Faculty, Staff and Administration.  During the first year of the LGBT Resource Center, the Director will maintain the web presence that will serve as an umbrella to support the continued collaboration of stakeholders.  The Center’s virtual presence will extend into the Institutions’ home page and highlight both the existence and persistence of the LGBT community at Johns Hopkins.

Virtual Center

A virtual Resource Center, or web presence, would allow for community stakeholders to connect with others by enhancing their ability to work together.  Additionally, a web presence will immediately transmit to all current and perspective faculty, staff and students that Johns Hopkins is a welcoming institution that values diversity and inclusion. The Virtual Center is the best and most direct way to increase visibility and connection. We believe that maintenance of the recently developed OUTList website should be a part of this new virtual center.

Facilities Requirements

We believe the permanent Center should be located at the Homewood Campus.  Recognizing that space is at a premium, the Center should have, at the minimum, private office space for the director and assistant director/graduate interns and cubicle or reception space for an administrative assistant. Open space for meeting and programming, gender neutral bathroom facilities, kitchen facilities, computing and AV access and adequate storage space for supplies/resource library would ensure that the physical space is flexible enough to meet the diverse needs of all stakeholders.

Summary Statement

According to two climate surveys, focus groups and stakeholder accounts, the current climate of Johns Hopkins does not fully meet the needs of its LGBT members. An institution-wide LGBT Resource Center that educates supports and enhances the climate would benefit all members of the Johns Hopkins community.  The best way to accomplish this goal is to fully fund and support a center that begins virtually and develops into a physical space over time.  A full time staff member with extensive skills and knowledge of LGBT issues, history and best practices is necessary to launch and centralize resources across the institution.  The authors thank President Daniels for his consideration of this proposal and look forward to continuing to build on these efforts.


Much of the research and writing of this document was no less than a labor of love.   Stakeholders from across the Institution worked together to create a vision of what is possible for Johns Hopkins.  The writing of this document, informed by the recent programming and work of DSAGA, Gertrude Stein, The Network, Allies in the Workplace, Peabody, the Counseling Center and the DLC has generated conversations, excitement and new alliances.  Each meeting brought exchange of ideas and concepts as experiences and knowledge was shared for the better of all.  This is the potential that a LGBT Resource Center has for Johns Hopkins. The Resource Center both in its virtual and physical iterations will further advance exchange of ideas, programming and education while creating a climate that is inclusive and welcoming for all.  Thanks go to Risha Zuckerman for her administrative support and encouragement. Lastly, we would like to thank our readers for their time and consideration of this proposal; Susan Boswell, Anne Elizbeth Brodsky, Danielle German and Caroline Laguerre-Brown.

[i] Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), The 2009 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in Our Nation’s Schools. Available at

[ii] Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Issues and Research Gaps and Opportunities; Board on the Health of Select Populations, “Early/Middle Adulthood” in The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding, Institute of Medicine, 2011.

[iii] Bylaws of Allies in the Workplace of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory ratified August 8, 2011.

[iv] Degrees of Equality: A national Study examining workplace climate for LGBT employees,” 2009, HRC

[v] Guasp, April and Balfour, Jean. “Peak Performance: Gay People and Productivity,” 2008, Stonewall,

[vi] Everly, B et al. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?  Does Disclosure of Gay Identity Affect Partner Performance?” Journal of Experimental  Social Psychology 48 (2012) 407-410

[vii] Bylaws of Allies in the Workplace of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory ratified August 8, 2011

[viii] Meyers D. (2006). Psychology (8th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers

[ix] Garnets, L. & Kimmel, D (2003). Psychological perspectives on lesbian, gay and bisexual experiences (2nd ed.). New York: Columbia University Press

[x] Hewlett, Sylvia & Sumberg, K. “The Power of Being Out: LGBT in the Workplace,” Center for Work-Life Policy, June 2011, pg 4.

[xi] LGBT Health in the Medical School Curriculum

[xii] Obedin-Maliver, J et al. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender-Related Content in Undergraduate Medical Education, JAMA. 2011; 306 (9): 971-977.

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van Heeringen, C., & Vincke, J. (2000). Suicidal acts and ideation in homosexual and bisexual young people: A study of prevalence and risk factors. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 35, 494–499.

Vaughan, M. D., & Waehler, C. A. (2009). Coming-out growth: Conceptualizing and measuring stress-related growth associated with coming out to others as a sexual minority. Journal of Adult Development.

Weinrich, J. D., Atkinson, J. H., Patterson, T. L., McCutchan, J. A. et al. (1995). Associations among coping style, personality, unsafe sexual behavior, depression, conflict over sexual orientation, and gender nonconformity: HIV status as a modulating variable. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 7(1-2), 135-160.

Williams, M. (2008). Homosexuality anxiety: A misunderstood form of OCD. In: L. V. Sebeki (Ed.) Leading-edge health education issues (pp. 195-205). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Wilson, B. D. M., & Miller, R. L. (2002). Strategies for managing heterosexism used among African-American gay and bisexual men. Journal of Black Psychology, 28, 371-391.

Wright, E. R., & Perry, B. L. (2006). Sexual identity distress, social support, and the health of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. Journal of Homosexuality, 51(1), 81-110.

Yakushko, O. (2005). Influence of social support, existential well-being, and stress over sexual orientation on self esteem of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals. International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling, 27(1), 131-143.

Zakalik, R. A., & Wei, M. (2006). Adult attachment, perceived discrimination based on sexual orientation, and depression in gay males: Examining the mediation and moderation effects. Journal of Counseling Psychology 53(3), 302–313.

Zamboni, B. D., & Crawford, I. (2007). Minority stress and sexual problems among African American gay and bisexual men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 569-578.

Zea, M. C., Reisen, C., & Poppen, P. (1999). Psychological well-being among Latino lesbians and gay men. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 5, 371–379.

List compiled by Lee Beckstead, Ph.D., Aspen Grove Counseling, updated 1/11.  Edited by LGBT Resource Center Committee.


Did You Know?
  • In 1893 Florence Bascomb became the University's first female PhD.
  • Christine Ladd-Franklin was the first woman to earn a PhD at Hopkins, in mathematics in 1882. The trustees denied her the degree and refused to change the policy about admitting women; she finally received her degree 44 years later.
  • As of 2009-2010, the undergraduate population was 47% female and 53% male.
  • Hopkins researchers took the first color photograph of the whole earth from space in 1967.
  • Hopkins researchers confirmed the authenticity of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948.
  • In 1948 Hopkins researchers discovered Dramamine's effectiveness in alleviating motion sickness.
  • Kelly Miller was the first African American to attend Johns Hopkins University. Admitted as a graduate student in mathematics in 1887.
  • In 1890, five Baltimore women, four of them daughters of Hopkins trustees, organized the Women's Fund Committee. Martha Carey Thomas, Mary Elizabeth Garrett, Mary Gwinn, Elizabeth King, and Julia Rogers raised money needed to establish the School of Medicine with the condition that the school accept women.
  • In 1999, Johns Hopkins University became one of the first major institutions to offer same-sex domestic partner benefits to employees.
  • The Diversity Leadership Council presented the first annual Diversity Leadership Awards in 2003.
  • The Diversity Leadership Council organized the first Diversity Conference in 2004.
  • There are 36 Nobel Prize winners associated with Johns Hopkins University.
  • More than 10,000 University alumni currently live in 162 countries.
  • Johns Hopkins international research and training sites, programs, and offices are in 134 countries.
  • In 1947, Ralph Young, M.D. became the first black medical doctor at Johns Hopkins. He was a syphilis expert and was appointed by A.M. Harvey, M.D., head of the Department of Medicine.
  • The Hopkins Center for Social concern provides a base for more than 50 student-run programs that serve Baltimore communities.  In 2009-2010, more than 1,500 students performed nearly 80,000 hours of volunteer work through these programs.
  • Vivien Thomas, a medical technician to Surgeon-in-Chief, Alfred Blalock, M.D., was one of the most famous blacks at Johns Hopkins. He trained surgical residents and is recognized for techniques he perfected in treating congenital heart defects.
  • Roland Smoot, M.D. became the first black physician with admitting privileges at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1965. He was the son of a post office employee and a domestic worker.
  • Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, M.D. Dr. Q, is a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins and author of "Becoming Dr. Q." When he was just 19, Dr. Q jumped the border fence between Mexico and the United States and labored as a farm worker until he could save enough to earn an education and become a U.S. Citizen.
  • Johns Hopkins enrolls undergraduates from all 50 states and more than 71 nations.
  • The seminar method of instruction was introduced in the United States by a Johns Hopkins University postdoctoral student.
  • The JH Sheridan Libraries and Museums have 4,395,668 volumes on its shelves.
  • In 1879 Hopkins researchers discovered the sweetening agent saccharin.
  • In 2004 Hopkins researchers sent a spacecraft to Mercury to orbit the planet and see, for the first time, the majority of Mercury's surface.
  • The Peabody Conservatory collaborated with the National University of Singapore to create the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, Singapore's first and only conservatory of music.
  • Gertrude Stein studied at the School of Medicine from 1897-1902, though she did not receive a degree.
  • In 1991 Estelle Fishbein, former University General Counsel, became Johns Hopkins' first female vice president.
  • In 2011, the LGBT Community at Johns Hopkins joined the OUTList on National Coming Out Day.
  • The first three JHU bachelor's degrees were conferred in spring 1879.
  • There are more than 25 undergraduate multicultural student organizations at Johns Hopkins.
  • The Diversity Leadership Council has representation from all major Johns Hopkins University entities, Johns Hopkins Health System, and the Applied Physics Laboratory.
  • The Diversity Leadership Council has more than 40 members, who represent more than 30 departments and all campuses.
  • The Mosaic Initiative is the first University-wide Initiative to focus on the recruitment and retention of individuals that are under-represented in the JHU faculty including women and persons of color, across all divisions and units.
  • JHU age demographics are slowly changing: Our age demographics have shifted, with Baby Boomers (born 1943-1960) and Traditionalists (born before 1943) leaving our workforce while Gen X (born 1961-1981) and Gen Y (born after 1981) joining in greater numbers.

    Staff are the youngest, Deans/Executives are the oldest: In the second quarter of 2012, the average age of Deans/Executives is 55, Professorial Faculty is 50, Bargaining Unit is 49, Senior Staff is 46, Non-Professorial Faculty is 45, and Staff is 42.