One reason the Oregon Country Fair is so popular is people can feel free to be themselves. But what if you’re still not sure who you are – or you want to connect with others like you? Rainbow Village is the base camp for all things L-G-B-T-Q-I-A at the fair.
“My name’s Oblio Stroyman and I’m the founder and the organizer of the Rainbow Village, an LGBTQIA-dedicated space at the Country Fair and also the Community Village council.”
Stroyman says the fair aims to be inclusive and accommodating to ensure a positive experience. That even includes the bathrooms.
“And one of the ways that they’ve been innovative is creating a space for those who squat to pee to have a urinal to also use. It’s super convenient. It’s nice not to be trapped in a little bathroom when you just have to pee.”
The squatting potties at the fair are for anyone, or as the fair says, “squatters and standers, pointers and setters.”
“Well, historically it was called the Herinals and the Himinals, which is cute, although not very gender inclusive. So I’ve written little haikus that should be placed outside. It has yet to be unveiled what the actual title of the places to pee will be, but the haikus are essentially, if you squat to pee, you’re in the right place, gender inclusive. And if you stand to pee, you’re in the right place, gender inclusive.”
Stroyman says the bathroom issue is just one of the things faced by the LGBTQIA community outside the fair. It’s something they’ll address during workshops and discussions at Rainbow Village.
“This year we’ll be talking a little bit about what’s happening in Russia to gay men and we’ll talk about the 14 Trans women of color that have been killed this year. So we have things that are serious because that’s really true for us. And we have also things that are really positive and strides that Oregon is making. This year we saw the first stand-alone transgender bill, which saw the third gender marker placed on identifications here in Oregon. You know, there’s dark and there’s light and we celebrate all of those things at Rainbow Village.”
Stroyman invites fairgoers to stop by their booth in community village and join the conversation. And maybe you have a haiku of your own you’d like to share.