New director focuses on resilience at the Gender and Sexuality Center

Jamie Wire in a red sleeveless top standing in front of a multicolored-lit wall
New Gender and Sexuality Center Director Jamie Wire

Photo Credit: Dan Holmes

June 19, 2024

Jamie Wire (she, her, hers or they, them pronouns) is the new director of the Gender and Sexuality Center. She came to Brandeis from Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, where she oversaw the Queer and Trans Resource and Advocacy Center. Prior to that, she worked the Gender and LGBTQ+ Center at Elon University in South Carolina. She also worked as a high school special education and enjoys using education as a tool for social justice work. She spoke with Brandeis Stories about Pride Month and her plans to support students.

What does Pride mean to you?

To me, Pride means resilience. Historically, Pride events were and, in some cases still are, protests against injustices experienced by queer people. That may not always be obvious to folks as Pride has increasingly become a focus of marketing campaigns in order to expand consumership. However, the essence of Pride can still be observed when people come together in community with one another and, through that solidarity, challenge the status quo that inhibits queer people from thriving. Pride is when we feel safe and welcomed in public. Pride is when we protest against harmful legislation. Pride is when we celebrate each other's accomplishments. And Pride is when we extend a helping hand to one another.

Why do you do this work? How do you want the GSC to support students?

I know it's a bit of a cliche, but I'm trying to be that role model or positive influence I wish I had when I was younger. I know, at least in my college career, I didn't have anyone necessarily to look up to. Especially being a closeted trans person back then, to have that kind of experience or mentorship. And so part of it's definitely trying to be that person to let a student know that they have someone in their corner, and giving them a support system. I hope the GSC, under my leadership, will become for students just that central source for queer-related resources and support on campus. I want students to have a home if they don't know where to go or how to get connected to people, find community, make friends, or to find something specific on or off campus. I want them to stop in here, and whatever it is, we can figure it out together.

Are there any initiatives you are looking forward to launching or continuing within the Gender and Sexuality Center?

So I've heard a lot of really positive things about the Pride Rep student employment program that the GSC has overseen in the past years. So I’m really looking to revitalize that and redesign it, I think it could be a very powerful peer education team. I think there's a lot of examples of peer education teams being in high demand on campus and being very welcomed into Brandeis ethos.

If I’m talking to a lot of folks on campus, I think people are really eager to learn more about LGBTQ+ identities and topics. It's constantly an evolving conversation. And I think students really respond well when they're being educated by their peers. And you can have those kinds of interactions. That's something I'm really excited to look forward to and have had a lot of success with in the past, overseeing and creating peer education teams.