Inside Iowa State
December 11, 1998
LGBT student services coordinator hopes to build on program's recent success
by Kevin Brown
Stacie Kagan wears her new title, coordinator of lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgendered student services, with a quiet ease, a dedicated verve and an unswerving commitment to confidentiality and security.
"There is a huge need for the LGBTSS at Iowa State," said Kagan, who took over the position in mid-August. "On this campus of 25,000 students, theory would have you believe that there are at least 2,500 students potentially affected by issues impacting people with diverse sexual orientations and gender issues."
Kagan, a graduate student in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, said she prefers to take a low-key approach to seeking general acceptance for the LGBTSS community from the Iowa State community.
"We must continually remind people in the Ames community and the Iowa State community that we exist among them," she said. "I believe not in having an 'in your face' attitude, but in reminding people and beginning an education process."
Her first goal is students. LGBTSS services include providing a safe atmosphere for people to learn about sexual orientation and gender issues; providing advocacy and support as they go through their explorations; promoting inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals; and providing educational programming to students, faculty and staff. Resources offered by Kagan's office include a library of LGBT books, periodicals and publications; a computer with Internet access; a speaker's bureau; advocacy mission; and referrals to student counseling, legal or health care services.
Kagan said she finds her new position challenging because "I haven't been as completely involved in the ISU community as may be necessary. But I am ready to take the challenge."
She said she hopes to continue the success the office had last year. "There were many 'first kinds' of activities last year and I want to work for the same type of success this year," she said.
Confidentiality is the major promise Kagan makes to the community.
"We stress that," she said. "For some people, especially those just starting to come to terms with issues, it is hard to walk in here. We are not judgmental about where you are or how you identify yourself."
To further aid people in their attempts to accept themselves or to explore sexuality issues, Kagan said the office sponsors several support groups. Currently, there is a coming out group, a transgender group, and a lesbian/bisexual women's group. For more information, call the office.
Kagan is a West Bend native who earned her bachelor's degree from Clarke College in Dubuque.
The 28-year-old has been in Ames since 1994. She said she came out at the age of 19, but was dealing with sexuality issues at about age 12 or 13.
"I'm glad to be here," she said. "It's going to be an exciting year and I can't wait to meet a lot of new people and to implement new programming based on the needs the community brings to me."
Kagan works 20 hours each week and is looking for volunteers to help staff the office for another 20. To volunteer, call 4-1020.
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