True Colors is a new student-run organization established on Feb. 3. The founder defines True Colors as the club “that opens doors for people who are allies or members of the LGBTQ+ community. It helps to create an environment for those who feel rejected or pushed aside by society.”
Prior to True Colors, LBGTQ+ community did not have a voice or safe space at Mount St. Mary’s University. Before True Colors, there was a club known as Prism. Unfortunately, Prism did not receive funding from SGA nor coherent representation. They were classified as a support group instead of an actual club.
The goal of Prism was for students to come together to share their experiences, raise awareness and promote inclusion at the school. True Colors has risen from the ashes of Prism and demonstrates the importance of fighting back and going against the odds within a conservative university.
When the Center of Student Diversity Director Erica Rousseau was asked about True Colors, she emphasized the amount of excitement, joy and gratitude she felt while helping the students succeed in this new journey. After Prism was dismantled, many students reached out to Rousseau and shared their many thoughts and concerns.
This was the perfect opportunity to start a club where everyone of any sexual orientation station and gender identity are welcomed. She wants every student to feel supported, valued and seen on campus no matter how they may identify themselves.
When asked if True Colors in anyways may conflict with the university’s values, Rousseau stated that, “the Mount mission plan of living significantly and service to god align with what True Colors aspire to be and will be, along with the social Catholic teaching which is respecting people dignity.”
As the Mount’s population and diversity grows, it is important to have a safe space for everyone. Rousseau wanted to make it clear that without having representation for everyone, “you're depleting someone's human identity.”
It is important we love everyone for who they are and for what they can bring to the table because everyone is unique in their own way. One hurdle that True Colors may face is the acceptance from the non-LGBTQ+ Mount community. But Rousseau is crystal clear that it is not an issue of religious values but people’s own personal prejudices.
She stated, “it has nothing to do with representing the Catholic/Christain church, but people’s own hurdles.”
She envisioned True Colors becoming as known and accepted as the chess club, and not “a thing” but just as accepted as our water polo students and choir members. Another goal of hers is that she wants everyone to be respected and dignified just as other club members and athletes are on campus. Lastly, she wants to mention that inclusion is only possible when having support from President Timothy Trainor and his cabinet as well as their willing support even when met with not popular opposition.
Many students are affected when their voices aren’t heard and often feel excluded. But when a student enters the Center for Student Diversity, they are often gravitated to the amount of happiness and compassion that every student has to support one another. At the CSD and True Colors, students automatically feel welcomed and grateful to have amazing peers.
As True Colors moves forward, students are working extremely hard to host events for the whole community to be a part of. One of the club’s founders Jenna Milner, feels like the gate are finally opening at the university and welcoming the LGBTQ+ community.
Milner explained, “True Colors ensures the community's safety on campus and a haven to voice the problems that come with being a part of the LGBTQ+ community.”
The LGBTQ+ community Having a voice and space many sparks fear on a predominantly Catholic campus. But in the end, Milner said, “she is excited to see how many students and faculty support the community.”
This shows the amount of love that has been poured into every individual. The Mount has provided safe spaces for different communities of races, ethnicity and religious groups. Now it is time for this amazing community to outshine and show the wonderful attributes they have to contribute.
One student believes that this step will allow. They exclaimed, “doors to open to conservations in class and also educate future students, explaining with gratitude how excited they’re to have a diverse group of people that come to this organization whether as members or as allies.”
The student points out how they fear the unknown and how outsiders might want to control how they portray themselves on campus but sticks to the mindset of “one thing I always try to say is that '…God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean' (Acts 10:28).” They and many others hope that this creates a new floor for compromise and peace between the campus and us.