The Rainbow Group: A safe place at the end of the rainbow

Illustration by Ashlyn Rudolph

Milan Brewster, Contributing Writer 

The Rainbow Group, a support group at VCU that started in the fall of 2011, allows students to connect with others in the university’s LGBTQIA+ community and seek support with relationships, coming out or identity development. 

The group is run by University Counseling Services staff Camille Rudney and Meghan Guinn and meets weekly to discuss issues that impact LGBTQIA+ students to make students feel welcome in a confidential, safe space. 

“It’s a place that one can give support and get support,” Guinn said. “A lot of times, many people think they are alone or the only ones going through something and don’t know how to navigate it. My experience from work with the group is creating a space for folks who can get and receive that support, especially during college.”

It was started in 2011 by staff psychologist Jane Altman, who received requests for such a program from students within the LGBQTIA+ community at VCU.

“In order for someone to join the group, they would need to reach out to me or a staff psychologist at the University Counseling to schedule a pre-group meeting,” Guinn said. 

The pre-group meeting is an opportunity for interested students to understand what the group is to get a feel for it before getting access to the weekly meetings. The meetings feature discussions based on what the students want to talk about and what they have been going through. The Rainbow Group also offers an option to ask questions or address concerns anonymously. 

“This group is helping students move forward in living healthy, successful lives,” Guinn said. “The goal is to also help them get through struggles on top of academics, going to class or roommate stuff.”

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