Based in Boise, The Community Center’s Queer Visibility Campaign is a project that distributes queer, transgender, and polyamory-themed merchandise such as gender pronoun buttons, sexuality flag wristbands, striped socks with “I heart my community” on the soles, identity-themed T-shirts, and coloring books. The Campaign aims to teach LGBTQ+ people and allies by offering a friendly space to ask questions, while also fostering community building and connecting.
“Our primary goal is to spread LGBTQ+ education and inclusion in Idaho,” says Heather Franck, an outreach volunteer for the Center who also leads the Campaign. “A common narrative we have heard is that wearing this visibility swag makes conversations about sexuality and gender so much easier. Our community, in general, is now embracing their identities instead of cautiously hiding.”
Projects like this one that help raise visibility for LGBTQ+ communities are critically important in the fight to build a safer, more equitable region—especially in more rural states like Idaho. While our community is strong and thriving in Idaho, it can be easy to feel marginalized in a state where the Republican-majority Legislature fails year after year to pass a statewide bill that would protect all LGBTQ+ people from discrimination.
Pride Foundation funds are helping the Campaign double its outreach opportunities from four to eight annual events in Idaho; and with printing costs for educational pamphlets, booth fees, and increasing merchandise inventory.
“We have already made connections with community members outside of events this year because Pride Foundation funding literally added visibility and legitimacy to the Campaign,” adds Heather. We have been preaching about LGBTQ+ inclusion for years, but now, with these funds, people can see and feel inclusion!”
Steve Martin is Regional Philanthropy Officer in Idaho.