Launch of the Rainbow is McGill University's Lavender Celebration for graduating 2SLGBTQIA+ students. All 2SLGBTQIA+ graduating undergraduate students, graduate students, and School of Continuing Studies students are invited to attend this event with friends and families. 2SLGBTQIA+ academics and staff are also welcome. Ally professors, librarians, university administrators, university staff, and ally students can attend and show their support for the 2SLGBTQIA+ graduating students as they launch into the next chapter of their lives.
McGill University's first lavender celebration event, titled the Launch of the Rainbow, is hosted by the JBSCE Subcommittee on Queer People, the Office of the Associate Provost (Equity and Academic Policies), MAUT | APBM, Queer McGill, Queer Grad Club, and the Union for Gender Empowerment.
Launch of the Rainbow honours the achievements and contributions of McGill University’s 2SLGBTQIA+ students. The acronym 2SLGBTQIA+ refers to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Two-Spirit, Intersex, and Asexual peoples, as well as those who identify as pansexual, questioning, non-binary, and other gender and sexual minorities.
Recognizing the importance of intersectionality, the Subcommittee on Queer People is committed to an organizing process and event that foregrounds the voices and experiences of 2SLGBTQIA+ people who are most marginalized, both in society and within 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, including 2SLGBTQIA+ people who are racialized, Indigenous, black, trans, women, non-binary, and persons with disabilities.
The purpose of Launch of the Rainbow is to:
- Celebrate the achievements of graduating 2SLGBTQIA+ students
- Empower historically marginalized populations
- Reinforce the idea of community at McGill before leaving McGill
- Highlight the work that Academics and Staff that have contributed to the support and advancement of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community on and beyond campus
- Highlight research conducted at McGill on 2SLGBTQIA+ topics and issues
- Raise awareness to 2SLGBTQIA+ issues on campus or in the greater community
The concept of an LGBTQ+ graduation, referred to as a Lavender Graduation or Rainbow Graduation, was implemented in 1995 by the then-director of the University of Michigan's LGBT Campus Resource Center, Dr. Ronni Sanlo. The Human Rights Campaign maintains a list of 166 universities in the United States of America that offer a Lavender Graduation to its LGBTQ+ students.
The 1st annual Launch of the Rainbow was held on June 5, 2018. This was the first-ever Lavender Graduation outside of the United States, and the first-ever Lavender Graduation held in Canada. Here are some links to some of the media publicity capturing this historic event: