October is a month dedicated to various causes and social issues, such as breast cancer awareness and domestic violence awareness. For the LGBT community, October is also Ally Month. This month, the HWS Pride Alliance is initiating a movement called the “I’m OUTstanding” campaign to bring attention to the openly “out” members of the HWS community as well as proud allies.
Created by Pride Alliance board member Rachel Braccini ’15, the “I’m OUTstanding” campaign operates through the utilization of poster ads- similar to the HWS Votes and the Get Caught Green-handed campaigns. Staff, faculty and students are asked to take time out of their day to get their photo taken while holding a sign that states why they’re OUTstanding.
“The point of a poster campaign is to highlight resources for students who may be struggling with their sexual orientation. It will showcase all allies and any openly out members of the community, and it will also hopefully give students who aren’t really clear on what it means to be an ally some insight into how simple it is,” says Braccini. “Recently, the campus received a 5/5 Campus Climate rating regarding LGBT issues. The poster campaign will help solidify and promote this,” she says.
The “I’m OUTstanding” campaign has no official end date because being an ally does not stop once the month is over. “It may very well be a yearlong campaign, as long as there are willing participants,” says Braccini. The Colleges’ staff photographers will be photographing all participants in the Office Communications (Durfee House). If you are interested in being a part of the campaign, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Members of Pride Alliance include Julia Leavitt ’13, president; Kelly Wendt ’14, vice president; Rachel Braccini ’15, treasurer; Danielle Stokel ’15, secretary; and Kellsey Walls ’13, public relations officer. The club meets every Wednesday in the Intercultural Affairs House at 9 p.m. The IC provides a safe place for students-regardless of sexual orientation-to talk about issues that they may not feel comfortable talking about anywhere else.
The photo above features the Pride Alliance tabling in the Scandling Campus Center.