Oregon Tech’s 1st Annual Pride Week October 11, 2018
Oregon Tech’s 1st Annual Pride Week October 11, 2018

On behalf of the work that has already been done by the many different community organizations of Klamath Falls, the Oregon Tech Office of Diversity & Belonging applied for and received a $14,000 grant from Oregon Health Authority, Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs, and Oregon Alliance to Prevent Suicide to publish relevant and vital resources, support systems, and information that increase protective factors for the LGBTQ+ community in Klamath Falls.

The diversity of Oregon Tech students is a vital part of the university, and is an area that needs further development to best support LGBTQ+ students and further educate the campus community. In the past 18 months, representatives from various organizations have come together to address gaps, resources, and visibility to center LGBTQ+ voices and perspectives in their work to better the lives of the LGBTQ+ community in Klamath Falls. These organizations included Oregon Institute of Technology, Planned Parenthood, Sky Lakes Medical Center, Klamath County Public Health, and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Klamath County.

A LGBTQ+ community support roundtable held in April 2019 brought together additional entities in the Klamath Basin including the Klamath Tribes, Klamath Community College, Dragonfly Transitions and others. They realized that not only were people in Klamath Falls ready for this work, but there are many LGBTQ+ resources and support already available in the area that many have no idea about. The Rainbow Falls Community Coalition was formed to champion these issues with the passionate folks living in Klamath Falls.

Leading the project at Oregon Tech are Wakaya Wells, assistant director of Diversity & Belonging; Josie Hudspeth, director of Student Involvement & Belonging; and Franny Howes, Ph.D., Professional Writing program co-director and Communication associate professor.

This project will include:

  • A resource management database tool to feature a working list of health professionals and centers that offer LGBTQ+ focused services (transaffirming health care, counseling and therapy, support groups, etc.), and a list of LGBTQ+ friendly local businesses, organizations, services, resources, and groups in the Klamath Basin.
  • A photo-marketing campaign to spotlight, feature and amplify LGBTQ+ peoples, businesses, programs, and safe spaces in the Klamath Basin.
  • A centralized website to host the above information, in addition to:
    • A Speakers Bureau page for area LGBTQ+ educators, trainers and speakers.
    • A calendar of local LGBTQ+ events, programming and opportunities.
    • Resources and tools to promote LGBTQ+ allyship and solidarity.

With the support of the Oregon Alliance to Prevent Suicide and the Oregon Health Authority, the teams believe they can make a positive impact with this project that the Klamath Falls LGBTQ+ community will benefit from for years to come.

This project will build toward a safer LGBTQ+ community and shape strong and supportive relationships with partners, friends, family, schools and social institutions. With this funding, Oregon Tech’s Office of Diversity & Belonging can address and uplift the work that has already been done and firm the foundation for more LGBTQ+ collaboration to be done in the future.