Rainbow Community club provides safe space for LGBT youth

The Rainbow Community in Longview, Washington is a group for local LGBTQ and ally middle and high school students that meets weekly at the Longview Public Library and has already changed the lives of its young members. The community group, started less than a year ago, holds a meeting every Monday at which sometimes up to as many as 30 students attend. The Daily News writes, "Students can find an accepting environment at the club, which is viewed as a safe hub where sexuality isn't a means of discrimination, but a common thread that ties its members together."

According to one of the club's regular attendees Sparrow Center, a 12 year old who faces bullying and teasing from her peers about her bisexuality, the Longview community is filled with many "judgmental, homophobic people" and not enough openly LGBT role models. She has found comfort in the Rainbow Community and has been attending for nine months, saying "It's more like a safe haven where you won't have to be judged."

Karkat Stafford echoes this sentiment. A 15 year old who identifies as bisexual and transgender, Karkat says that some of his family members and friends believe his sexuality is a phase and refuse to refer to him using his preferred pronouns. According to him, the group is "fun and relaxing," and more importantly, "here, everybody accepts who you are."

In less than a year, the Rainbow Community has brought together Longview's LGBT youth, creating a safe space where they can express themselves, feel accepted, make friends, and have a good time. The group recently marched in Longview's "Go 4th" parade, the community's annual 4th of July parade, holding a banner they decorated themselves and spreading their message of diversity and acceptance. The Rainbow Community will continue to welcome all middle and high school students with open arms, and they hope to begin holding similar meetings for older members ages 16-25.

Read more at The Daily News.