Red River College is beaming with pride as it prepares to again celebrate Winnipeg’s LGBTTQ+ community.
More than 100 students, staff and College leaders will walk in this Sunday’s Pride Winnipeg parade — just one of many LGBTTQ-related initiatives that reflect RRC’s ongoing commitment to diversity.
This year’s parade happens to coincide with the opening of The Spectrum, a new RRC Students’ Association (RRCSA) space for members of the LGBTTQ+ community and their allies.
“Red River College is committed to creating a safe campus environment by fostering an atmosphere of respect, equity and support, and ensuring everyone has the chance to work, learn and access services in an inclusive and welcoming manner,” says Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice-President, Academic.
“Participation in events like Winnipeg Pride, and the creation of spaces like The Spectrum are just a few ways we can create more opportunities for students and staff to meet like-minded individuals and allies, feel comfortable talking about their identity and experiences, and build a supportive and inclusive College community.”
Developed by the RRCSA with support from the College, The Spectrum is available for meetings and events aimed at students and allies, and to provide information on internal and external supports relevant to the community.
RRCSA executives say the space’s name was chosen to denote inclusion for everyone, as “The Spectrum” has a double meaning, invoking both the rainbow (a widely used symbol among the LGBTTQ+ community), and the spectrum of gender and sexuality.
“It’s essential for post-secondary institutions to create an environment where students feel safe and are free to interact and share with their community, and be themselves, so we are taking a proactive approach in supporting our marginalized students in a visible manner,” says Carmen McIntosh, the RRCSA’s Vice-President Academic and one of the coordinators of the space.
“The goal with safe(r) spaces like The Spectrum is to provide support to students who may feel as though they have nowhere else to turn. Students can come and meet others who share similar experiences and build a supportive community of allies.”
Throughout the year, the RRCSA plans to host a number of community events in the new space, including guest speakers from the community, informational workshops, LGBTT*-themed movie nights, and drag makeup tutorials. They have also added a community suggestion box where students can add their voices and share ideas for events and activities they’d like to see organized.
“RRCSA executives would like to applaud students, senior leaders and the entire College community on this collaborative effort to bring students this wonderful, essential space — we hope to see high levels of engagement in the upcoming school year,” says McIntosh. “And we look forward to celebrating with the community this weekend at the 32ndAnnual Winnipeg Pride Parade.”
Parade participants will wear multi-coloured RRC T-shirts while handing out rainbow sunglasses and waving flags. They’re scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. for the pre-parade rally in aisle C, spot #18, in the southbound lane of Memorial Blvd.