SMCC displays pride signs, flags to support LGBTQIA+ community

Rainbow signs and flags are showing up at Southern Maine Community College campuses in support of SMCC’s LGBTQIA+ community.

The Rainbow League student organization has installed pride signs — wooden pallets that are painted with the colors of the Progress Pride flag and the Transgender Pride flag — in front of the Campus Center on the SMCC South Portland Campus. Inside the Campus Center, a Progress Pride flag now hangs in a prominent position near the Advising Office.

A Progress Pride flag has also been put on display in the Learning Commons on Midcoast Campus in Brunswick. Pallet signs will also be put up on the campus in the future.

The Rainbow League student organization came up with the idea for the pallets, said club co-chair Samantha Frederick as she helped put up the signs in front of the Campus Center. The Rainbow League is a group of students from Maine community colleges who take advocacy action for social equality and have an interest in LGBTQIA+ issues.

Frederick said she has made and distributed dozens of similar signs for display in Standish, where she lives, but that most of them ended up being vandalized or removed. By contrast, SMCC has provided encouragement and support.

“It’s a message of welcoming everyone equally,” she said, crediting fellow club co-chair Zach Bower with helping move the project forward. “The important thing is to show everyone that SMCC is a safe campus for everyone, regardless of their background or where they come from.”

For Pride Month, SMCC’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee arranged to purchase and display Progress Pride flags on both campuses. The flags have the six colored stripes found in the Rainbow flag, but also have five arrow-shaped stripes representing LGBTQIA+ communities of color and the transgender pride flag.

One of the pallets in front of the Campus Center is also painted with the colors found in the Progress Pride flag. The other is painted in stripes that are blue, pink and white, symbolizing the transgender community.

As part of SMCC’s support for the LGBTQIA+ community, plans are also being made for the College’s first Lavender Graduation ceremony in May 2022. The ceremony — which will be a smaller, less-formal event than the college-wide SMCC Commencement — will be held for LGBTQIA+ graduates and their families and friends to celebrate their achievements and the challenges they had to overcome to graduate.

Photo: SMCC student Samantha Frederick, co-chair of the Rainbow League student organization, made the pride signs that are on display outside of the Campus Center.