LBGT Resource Center coordinator resigns

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

Charles Milne, coordinator of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, is officially resigning on Nov. 3 to seek a new career in event planning and management.

Milne’s resignation comes 15 days after his immediate supervisor, Karen Dace, announced her resignation from her position as associate vice president for diversity.

Milne said his resignation had no relation to Dace’s decision to step down.

Instead, Milne said the choice to resign was a personal career move. Although he did not say what company he would be working for, he said he would be moving to Portland, Ore.

Earlier this year, U administrators gave Dace additional funding to find a new director and advisers for the LGBT Center.

Milne’s replacement has not been announced.

Milne said that since his announcement, he has had a chance to look back at his experience during his first year as LGBT coordinator, which was five years ago.

“My first year was my most challenging year because we had a hard time getting support for our programs and getting them recognized,” Milne said.

The LGBT Center had no structured programs and only had student volunteers to run its events. They had little recognition and an even smaller office space located in the third floor of the Union.

Now, the center has four staff members, several student interns and a large variety of programs for LGBT students and allies. The center has also recently moved to a bigger space on the fourth floor in the Union, complete with a student lounge and computer center.

John Spillman, president of the LGBT Student Union, which Milne advised, said Milne has helped significantly to raise awareness and acceptance of the LGBT community at the U.

“He has certainly helped the LGBT community develop a voice to address the issues that are happening right now,” said Spillman, a senior in political science and sociology. “He’s also helped a lot of people find their own voices.”

His most memorable moment as coordinator, Milne said, was when the center and its students organized a mock wedding in fewer than 24 hours.

In 2004, the U College Republicans held a mock “straight” wedding in the Marriott Plaza to show disapproval of homosexual marriage, an issue being discussed at the state Legislature at the time, so Milne and students from the LGBT center constructed a counter mock homosexual wedding to “show both views,” he said.

And although arguments arose between both groups, Milne said he was appreciative of the support they received.

Other improvements Milne has seen through his position as coordinator include the decrease in hate mail over the years. Five years ago, Milne said he received threatening e-mails on “a semi-regular basis.” Now, he said, he doesn’t see them in his inbox as often.

Milne hopes to send a message of encouragement to his future replacement.

“My advice would be to keep on going,” Milne said. “There are going to be hard times, but by expanding awareness in the community, you can change people’s opinions on who we are, not who they think we are.”