Get to know the Rainbow Center for LGBTQ+ Center Awareness Day

The Rainbow Center hosts a table for LGBT Center Awareness Day on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 in the Student Union Mall. LGBT Center Awareness day is celebrated every year to bring attention to the work of LGBT Centers nationwide.

The University of Connecticut Rainbow Center encourages students to show their pride or support of the queer community this LGBTQ+ History Month by supporting the actual student center, located on the fourth floor of the Student Union. To celebrate National LGBTQ+ Center Awareness Day on Oct. 19, the Rainbow Center tabled at the Student Union yesterday. 

Students wishing to learn more about UConn’s LGBTQ+ center, the Rainbow Center, could stop by the table on Oct. 19. The table featured helpful handouts on pronouns and services offered on campus. Ally and Queer Pride pins and wristbands were available at the table for students to take at no cost. Anyone who stopped by was welcomed by Rainbow Center employees to participate in an interactive feedback activity and get some candy in return. These features of the table contribute to the positive and open atmosphere the Rainbow Center hopes to create.  

The student organizers of the table, Cal Benitex and Felipe Sanches, discussed the importance of the Rainbow Center to the queer community at UConn, describing the impact that having the space has for students. They mentioned how LBGTQ+ Center Awareness Day serves as an opportunity to extend the reach of the Rainbow Center and to let more students know about how to get involved with the LGBTQIA+ community on campus. 

“[National LGBTQ+ Center Awareness Day] showcases centers around the country,” said Benitex, a fifth-semester psychology and human development and family studies double major. “It shows how we serve the community on campus.” 

In particular, Benitex emphasized the importance of reaching LGBTQIA+ POC. [Text Wrapping Break] 

“There is a misconception that [the Rainbow Center] is historically White,” said Benitex. He described the enormous role that transgender women of color play in LGBTQIA+ history, showing that LGBTQ+ centers should extend their reach to POC to make a more diverse and inclusive space. 

Aside from bringing awareness to the Rainbow Center itself, Benitex and Sanches also named several resources and services available to students on campus that are offered through the center.  

“We have a gender inclusive bathroom map… free HIV and HPV testing… and a mentoring program,” said Sanches, a seventh-semester political science and Latino studies double major. He also described various social events that foster a sense of community on campus.  

Students can attend game nights throughout the semester or join the Familee mentoring program to get involved with others through the Rainbow Center. 

In addition to more casual events, the Rainbow Center also hosts several larger events each year. Today, Oct. 20, students can support their peers’ creativity through the Rainbow Center Annual Art Gala. “Legally and Medically Trans,” another annual event, supports transgender students who are in the process of transitioning, with specific information about how to navigate the process on campus. The Rainbow Center Symposium also showcases the events and resources available throughout the year.  

Students can visit the Rainbow Center in the Student Union for more information, helpful resources and to be a part of a welcoming and inclusive community on campus.  

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