By Lindsay Liu, Staff Writer
Rainbow Trinity is a club celebrating and advocating for 2SLGBTQIA+ students and individuals at Trinity College. They host a variety of events to celebrate diversity and play a vital role at Trinity College for creating a safe, supportive, and inclusive community for queer Trinity College students and allies. I recently had the honour of interviewing Rainbow Trinity’s co-presidents, Sara and MJ, to learn about their personal motivations, changes in Rainbow Trinity this year, challenges they’ve encountered, and their visions for the future.
Sara and MJ joined Rainbow Trinity during their first year, both driven by the desire to find a community to connect with like-minded peers. They recalled the events of the pandemic, simultaneously challenging the continuance of the club and emphasizing its indispensability during a time of increased disconnect.
Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic was a crucial turning point for Rainbow Trinity. The club had been well-established prior to the pandemic, and Sara in particular recollected the club, thriving with a larger membership and events schedule. She noted, however, that these pandemic challenges, despite initially setting the club back, spurred the team to “recreate the community [they] envisioned.” Part of restoring this vision involved reintroducing their collaborative events with the wellness team to provide wellness spaces for queer students.
However, historically, not everything has been easygoing for Rainbow Trinity. One of their most pronounced challenges is fund allocation and budgeting. The club has previously encountered bureaucratic obstacles within the college’s administration, particularly regarding the financing of their collaborative Gender Affirming Gear program with TASAH (Trinity Against Sexual Assault and Harassment). This initiative sought to provide equitable and free access to gender-affirming gear for students. Sara criticized the reasoning for the initial rejection of that line of budget, as the committee questioned the program’s inclusivity due to it not being aimed at everyone in Trinity College. She raised the point, “If our budget isn’t going to go to a gender-affirming gear program, then whose will?” and emphasized the absence of existing college initiatives addressing this need and the likelihood that it didn’t align with the objectives of other clubs. Sara added that while some concerns were understandable, and they did ultimately manage to secure the budget, the process was challenging and some concerns posed “seemed like an excuse” that hindered progress. Both presidents also agreed that this was not an experience exclusive to Rainbow Trinity, but appeared to reflect a broader issue faced by various clubs, especially those catering to minority groups.
Besides fiscal barriers, we discussed the general attitude towards queer students at Trinity, as well as the stereotypes or prejudices they may face during their time here. MJ relayed some of their queer peers’ encounters with transphobia and verbal discrimination and acknowledged that while these are global issues and certainly not unique to Trinity College, certain stereotypes and reputations magnify those issues. Sara added that several anonymous comments from a campaign Rainbow Trinity initiated last year following the budget talks “struck a chord.” In particular, she talked about how queer students reported feeling physically safe at Trinity, but still felt mentally unsafe. These concerns highlight the necessity of clubs, such as Rainbow Trinity, that provide safe spaces for students and work to dismantle social prejudices by promoting diversity and inclusivity.
From COVID-19 setbacks to bureaucratic hurdles, Rainbow Trinity has had its share of challenges—but that has not stopped them from continuously striving to spark honest conversations and organize inclusive events at Trinity College. These include roundtable discussions, tote bag painting, boba sessions, and drag brunches.
Looking ahead, Rainbow Trinity has substantial future goals. MJ’s long-term objective is to deconstruct the narrative of Trinity College as an exclusive and privileged institution and to turn it into a safer space for queer students. Sara’s goal revolves around nurturing a more active community and increasing event turnout. Both co-presidents also emphasized their appreciation for those turning out to their events and extended an open invitation to all queer students, allies, and other students interested in Rainbow Trinity to participate in their future endeavours.
Finally, MJ summed up the collective spirit of Rainbow Trinity and their hopes for future generations of students at Trinity. “You can genuinely find your community here, and you can find this place at Trinity.”
Following images from @trinitycollegetoronto Instagram account posted June 9 2022