Colors Back in Action
Colors, Santa Fe University’s LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) club, has established itself on campus as an inclusive group of students who are working to both bring awareness and create a safe space for LGBTQIA+ students and allies alike. Colors continues on this semester with the same intentions, while cooking up some exciting new ideas for campus and larger Santa Fe area.
“It’s a place to socialize as well as a support system. There are some things that I’ve accomplished within the school, or tried to accomplish, that I wouldn’t have tried to do without knowing that there were people behind me,” says Film and Studio Arts student Otto Yunker, who pushed for gender-neutral bathrooms in the Film School before they became a reality this summer.
Staff advisor Sierra Parson wants non-members to know that Colors welcomes all students. “I think that a lot of times people who don’t attend a GSA [Gay Straight Alliance] or any sort of LGBTQ+ organization think of it as being this meeting place where all we talk about is LGBTQ+ issues. But really, it feels like a safe space to get passed that and not feel like you have to explain yourself all the time before you talk about what you actually want to talk about. We talk about lots of things.”
At the weekly meetings, members go around and say their names and pronouns before sharing any personal or general news with everyone. Parson would like to see that happening in more places than just within the LGBTQIA+ community on campus, including staff meetings. “I think that would be a great practice to start, it’s really easy, it doesn’t take that long, and then you reestablish how you want to be addressed at each meeting so there’s no confusion,” Parson explains.
Colors conducts other events along with the weekly meetings. A popular activity among students is game night, where students play table top, board, and card games. In addition to the social aspects, Parson hopes to add more educational components to the club. Last semester, Creative Writing student and Colors board member Jessica Oliver did a presentation on asexuality, which she felt was a misunderstood sexuality.
The club also sponsors a Trans 101 presentation at the beginning of the semester during faculty orientation. Future plans include inviting more speakers to co-facilitate meetings and presentations as well as going on field trips. Club members hope to attend the Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in Albuquerque in early October.
This year, Colors will be working with IMPACT Personal Safety, offering free self-defense classes. Along with this, Colors hopes to continue encouraging open dialogue on campus regarding LGBTQIA+ issues. In the past, the initiative was made for students’ chosen name and gender to be featured on their student IDs. Now Yunker says they want to work with administration regarding the use of legal names in the system, hoping to work on a way for chosen names to be featured in student email addresses and attendance lists.
The club would also like to team up with other organizations in Santa Fe and reach out to the community. Parson explains Colors’ place in community while mentioning her hopes of starting a bi-yearly queer youth dance in the Santa Fe area. “I think that sometimes when you think about organizations within an institution we tend to think of them as isolated things. Essentially we are part of the Santa Fe queer community by virtue of being here.”
Colors members say that they hope the student body sees them as a place to go if they need support. “I want them to see a very inclusive community, like people who are there for you no matter if you’re a familiar face to the meetings or just completely new,” says Oliver. “There’s always a place for you here. And you don’t necessarily have to be LGBTQ to be a part of that; it can be a safe space for anyone really.”
Meetings are held from 7 to 9 p.m., Friday nights in Fogelson Library.