As the resident assistant of the new Spectrum thematic community, one of the most common things I hear from residents is that they feared living in the Residence Halls before they found and signed up for Spectrum.
Several people on the floor have come from areas where people were not accepting of their current gender and/or sexual identity, and some have even faced violence or discrimination due to the beliefs others have of their identity. Coming to IU, many of them were unsure if Bloomington and IU would be any better.
Spectrum has turned out to be an amazingly supportive and safe community.
Everyone interacts daily and people are constantly socializing with one another in our community space. As such, everyone has started to become great friends and a sort of pseudo-family with the amount of time and support we offer one another. The Spectrum residents have gone far to support one another emotionally, as we have still had some issues outside of the floor. While Bloomington has been an amazing space for Spectrum residents, it’s not perfect. Some residents have still experienced leering and slurs while holding the hand of a same-sex or gender non-binary partner within the city proper, but those incidents are few.
Even I have appreciated being in a community that is so accepting. Within the Spectrum community, I feel comfortable telling people to consider my pronouns as they/them instead of he/him, as it lacks the hassle of explaining why I feel that way each and every time. I can also expect that people will respect my preferences, and even if they mess up occasionally I can be assured that it wasn’t done maliciously. I would say that Spectrum has been a huge success. We’ve been able to build a supportive and safe community that has allowed persons with LGBT+ identities to flourish where they were unsure if they could and have built strong emotional bonds that I believe will last.