Month: March 2019

Fresh Check Day

By: Anna Martineau

The Rainbow Center will be participating in UConn’s annual Fresh Check Day on Saturday, April 27th, from 1-4pm on the Student Union lawn. Fresh Check Day is a core part of the Jordan Porco Foundation, an organization that started in 2011 after Ernie and Marisa Porco lost their son to suicide. At UConn, it is hosted by Counseling and Mental Health Services (CMHS) and the campus organizations that make up the Suicide Prevention Committee.

We recognize at the Rainbow Center how important it is to talk about mental health openly, especially within the LGBTQ community. LGBTQ folks face a greater amount of stigma and inaccessibility when it comes to mental healthcare, and it is important to not only create awareness to these issues but to also work towards creating real change. While this may seem like a daunting task to take on, change begins with the small things. The friendly, open attitude that our staff bring to the Rainbow Center, and the way in which we embrace our identities wholeheartedly has made a lasting impact on the way that I view myself. It sends a powerful message that none of us have to go through college alone.

I know that for a lot of students, dealing with mental health is not as simple as a positive attitude or a mental health fair like Fresh Check Day. It can take hard work and vulnerability to start the healing process and ask for help. But sometimes in a world where it can be easy to be overwhelmed by negative imagery, having events like Fresh Check Day help to break through the storm and remind us what our resources are. We look forward to seeing everyone at our Be Yourself Booth, and encourage anyone who may need it to reach out to CMHS at 860-486-4705.

On Making Trans Art

by: Taylore GrunertImage of trans individual staring into the distance

On Thursday, March 14, the Rainbow Center hosted its annual Art Gala. The Gala featured art from students on campus, from those both affiliated with the Rainbow Center and those from the larger community. I love events like this. Professional artists, those with the aspirations to be professional, and those for whom art is simply a fun hobby (such as myself) were all able to display their work in an equalizing space. We were all given the same attention, the same time, the same platform.

I also love art museums. I love to be confronted with the multitudes of human experience, with the work of lives I will never interact with except for in the moment when I see what they have produced. But the sad fact is, for as many museums as I have visited, I have never—not once—seen a piece of art which depicts a trans experience. No bodies which display the beautiful and rich history of a body which is not cisgender. No loves which are desperate, defiant, and sweet, as a trans romance is. No clothes, even, which examine the exploration and artifice of gender roles. In a museum, I have never seen the radical self-love which defines what it means to be trans.

Trans perspectives are laughably absent from the mainstream art world. Does this mean that there are no trans people creating art? No, of course not. A trans person is not obligated to create art which discusses their identity. (Although, there is an argument to be made that it is still “trans art,” by virtue of its creator.) And in all probability, even non-modern art has been made by people who, were they alive today, might have identified with the word “transgender”.

There is a comfort in this, but also a sadness, a feeling of loss. Quite frankly, I am tired of the lack of representation. I should not have to do the constant mental work of convincing myself that, in a room of hundreds of paintings of portraits, landscapes, and bowls of fruit, that there is art created by someone like me. In short, I hunger for art which is explicitly and unashamedly transgender.

This is why, when I was creating the pieces I submitted to the Art Gala, I made them about being trans. This is why I felt vitally, critically, that I had no other options. And this does not mean that I felt confined or boxed in in my subject matter. Rather, it was freeing; I expressed myself creatively, passionately, lovingly. I am emphatically proud of my paintings.

Art from the Gala will be on display for the next two weeks in the Rainbow Center. I would encourage everyone to come and take a look.

Message from Director

The Rainbow Center would like to acknowledge that last Friday night we displayed an Instagram post that was culturally appropriative.  The post has since been taken down.  We apologize and take responsibility for the harm we have caused.  In the future we will do better by re-examining our social media posting procedures.