By Nicole Stewart, Contributing Writer
The Rainbow League is preparing to host their third annual Gender Diversity Night open to the public and held in North Dining Hall A and B, on November 16th from 7-10 p.m. The evening will include a panel, a fashion show, clothing drive, raffles, food and items for sale.
Bobbi Morneault, the Public Relations Officer of the Rainbow League, explained what Gender Diversity Night is. “We have a night that’s all about everything gender related, like gender expression, gender identity, and a panel where we get our students who are non-binary,” said Morneault. “They talk about their experiences as trans-people, non-binary people.”
Another part of the event is the clothing drive. “Once Gender Diversity Night is over, we take all the donations and send them off to New Beginnings, an organization in Lewiston that works with LGBTQ youth.” The leftover clothing will also be going to Western Maine Homeless Outreach right here in Farmington. According to Morneault, the club is not going to charge students who want to take clothing to help them feel secure in their gender performance.
Matthew Wyman, the President of the club encourages members of the community to donate clothes. “We’re mostly looking for, in terms of the donations, is thicker, winter type stuff. Long sleeves, warm jackets, hats, and mittens.”
The fashion show is a huge hit at the event. “Anyone can dress however they want, it’s not a competitive thing,” said Wyman, “It’s just kind of like ‘put on clothes, have a fun time!’ There’s funky music and everybody’s happy.” Wyman noted that President Kathryn Foster showed up at last year’s event, and was also a judge in the show. “I was so happy she came!”
In addition to the panel, students can write questions for the event. “Two weeks before, we’re going to table everyday outside of South Dining Hall and solicit questions for our panel.” Said Morneault, “What we do is people outside of the club, if they aren’t sure about things, can write questions on little slips of paper that the panel can answer.” The panel will feature five people, featuring their guest speaker, Gia Drew, a trans-woman and an employee of Equality Maine.
As a part of the event, students can buy items such as buttons for a $1, beaded snakes, flags, and other items. The Rainbow League will be holding a button contest for students. “You can design a button that is LGBTQ themed. If you win 1st place, you get a $6 card to your coffee house of choice and your button free. 2nd place you get a $3 card and your button,” said Morneault. “If you win 3rd, you just get your button.” The club is also open to commissions for an extra dollar and if students don’t have a design but know what they want, it’ll cost an extra 50¢. The club will contact the person when their button is ready.
The club is hopeful that members of the community will come and join this event. “It’s not just for our club. It’s for whoever wants to show up,” said Wyman, “You can come to have a good time.”