Published April 12, 2013
LGBT Club Comparison
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At RIT, there are many clubs dedicated to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities and their allies. The four main LGBT student organizations are OUTSpoken, Tangent, Spectrum and ritGA. According to Tristan Wright, president of OUTSpoken there is also a new club that is in the process of being recognized that will be the “queer women’s group,” although the name hasn’t officially been decided.

While all of these clubs essentially work towards the same goal, each club has its own qualities that differentiate it from the other LGBT clubs on campus.

OUTSPOKEN

OUTSpoken is the Major Student Organization that is responsible for REPRESENTING THE LGBT COMMUNITY in Student Government (SG). Although OUTSpoken has the closest connection to SG, the administration and resources, they work closely with the other three clubs on many initiatives.

OUTSpoken is the Major Student Organization that is responsible for REPRESENTING THE LGBT COMMUNITY in Student Government (SG). Although OUTSpoken has the closest connection to SG, the administration and resources, they work closely with the other three clubs on many initiatives.

According to Wright, OUTSpoken does not have members, but rather a constituency. Wright estimates that their email list currently has around 80 PEOPLE on it. “We represent the LGBT students, so we estimate that we REPRESENT ABOUT 10 PERCENT OF THE CAMPUS community,” said Wright.

Aside from having a constituency rather than a membership, second year Political Science and Journalism major and programming director of OUTSpoken Billy Gerken said that the MSO is more of an “UMBRELLA ASSOCIATION” in that it represents all of the LGBT clubs. He said that they help the other clubs with whatever they need, whether it is funding, advice for their organization or anything else.

SPECTRUM

Spectrum is a club for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and allies (GLBTQQA), primarily within the DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING community at RIT. Although this club works mostly with NTID, it is open to all students, hearing included.

According to Robb Dooling, fourth year Computer Science major and the current president, the club has existed at RIT on and off FOR DECADES under various names. The last time the club was active was in 2005 but it declined soon after. In 2010 Spectrum became active again and has stayed active since.

Dooling says that there are anywhere from 15 TO 30 MEMBERS in Spectrum. He estimates that there is approximately a 70 to 30 ratio of Deaf and hard of hearing members to hearing members in the club this year. Members attend general meetings, support any club fundraising and attend the major events.

Spectrum differs from the other LGBT clubs at RIT because of their focus on the Deaf community. According to Dooling, Spectrum is part of the NTID Student Congress and works with other Deaf community clubs for events on campus.

“The difference between Spectrum and other organizations might be that we have an ASL meeting and the events are all in ASL,” said Dooling. “[The other clubs] have interpreters and are open to Deaf people. We have voice interpreters and focus on the Deaf community but are open to hearing people.”

RITGA

The RIT Gay Alliance (ritGA) recently changed their name to the RIT GLBTQA Alliance to include gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied in their full title, but they still goes by ritGA for short. The club works to EDUCATE, ADVOCATE AND CELEBRATE the LGBT community at RIT. One of the major events that ritGA hosts during the year is a drag show in the fall and spring.

ritGA became an official club on October 11, 1983 and has been active since then. According to second year Industrial and Systems Engineering major Paul Sira, the club’s current president, ritGA EXISTED UNOFFICIALLY BEFORE 1983 as well.

Sira said that the club currently has between 40 and 50 active members. He added that some of their meetings have an attendance of around 100 DIFFERENT STUDENTS. Members help suggest ideas for events, take part in discussions and go to club events.

ritGA is a more social club according to Sira. He added that this club is WHERE MOST OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY AND THEIR ALLIES GO. “Most of what we do is social programming and community building and offering a space for students to talk and form a community,” said Sira.

TANGENT

Tangent is the LBGT club that focuses on the TRANSGENDER, GENDERQUEER AND NON BINARY POPULATION on campus. Tangent is a space for this community to hang out, interact and share information.

OUTSpoken president Tristan Wright was one of the co-founders of Tangent. He said the club was created when a young transgender woman, the other co-founder, WAS FEELING ISOLATED ON CAMPUS. When she realized that she probably wasn’t the only transgender person at RIT feeling this way, she decided to create the organization.


All of the LGBT clubs at RIT share common goals according to Gerken of OUTSpoken. They are all seeking to INFORM THE COMMUNITY, RECRUIT MORE ALLIES, SPREAD AWARENESS and CREATE A MORE OPEN COMMUNITY

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