Organization Spotlight: Rainbow Alliance/ photo provided by Rachel Ebert
Rainbow Alliance, a student-run organization, works tirelessly to achieve their goals despite certain incidences of pushback from administration and community members.
The organization is dedicated to serving and educating others about the LGBTQIA+ demographic of students on campus.
“Our mission statement is to bring education to campus about various LGBTQIA topics and just being a general safe space for our LGBTQIA students to have places where they can feel safe and have a voice of their own,” President Kirsten Spires said.
The student organization is partnered closely with the LGBT+ Center to provide educational meetings, panels and events to establish a community of inclusivity on campus.
“We do work a lot with the LGBTQIA center, they’re more of a resource space to get you connected. We’re more of like the social resource. Our big thing is to put on events on campus and provide an active open community,” Spires said.
Rainbow Alliance prides itself on creating relevant and educational content each week at its weekly meetings to help illuminate a specific group or topic in the LGBT+ community. The organization holds meetings weekly in the Student Union Atlantis room on Wednesdays from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Throughout the pandemic, Rainbow Alliance has maintained a thriving online community on Discord and other social media platforms. This was an important point for Spires because of the impact of the pandemic on mental health, even more so on marginalized communities who would feel more isolated.
“Rainbow provides a unique space where people are able to make new connections by being themselves,” Internal Affairs e-board member Alex Baughman said.
Rainbow Alliance has achieved many of its long-term goals in the past handful of years, according to Spires.
In 2019, the group and the LGBTQIA Center partnered on a successful effort to introduce Gender Neutral bathrooms on the WSU campus.
In recent years they have also made strides towards gender-inclusive on-campus housing options, and the streamlining of the name change service for transgender students.
Rainbow Alliance has celebrated huge success in recent years, but that has not come without roadblocks for the goals they have been working hard to achieve.
In 2021, they painted The Rock outside of Millet Hall in honor of Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31. The Rock was defiled following the ceremony. However, the administration and community quickly jumped into action following the act of vandalism, and the rock was repainted.
The pushback after the installation of the campus-wide gender-neutral bathroom was unexpected, and the administration deemed it necessary to remove the majority of the gender-neutral bathrooms. However, in an agreement with the LGBTQIA Center and the Rainbow Alliance, at least one gender-neutral bathroom is available in each building on campus.
Moving forward, Vice President Jules Naylor is hopeful about the increase of education and acceptance for the on-campus population.
“I would like to see the effort for more connections being made on campus. I like to see other students branching out, and getting to learn and explore different groups, regardless of their own identities and beliefs. I want to help build a sense of allyship among everyone on campus, across communities, not only within communities,” Naylor said.
Rainbow Alliance announces the upcoming topics for the meetings on their social media. The week of Feb. 1, the topic of the presentation was Awareness of Asexuality, and on Feb. 9 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. the topic is Sexual Education presented by Planned Parenthood.
The organization is partnered on many upcoming events on campus to look out for, such as the Annual Drag Show on March 19 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Apollo room.
On Feb. 18 they are partnering with the Black Student union on a panel discussing individual experiences as Queer people of color from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.