Wilco Iris was created in the fall of 2020 (when the world was still shut down due to the Coronavirus) in response to local students expressing a need for a supportive and encouraging space to meet and simply hang out with other LGBTQIA+ teenagers. We began with just a handful of students and adult volunteers, all of whom were passionate about making Williamson County a better place for LGBTQIA+ youth. We did some amazing things during that first year, despite COVID, including holding support meetings over Zoom, forging powerful friendships, and laying the groundwork for what Wilco Iris would grow to be.
After that first year, as the world started opening up again as COVID vaccines became widely available, Wilco Iris continued to grow and flourish with our student leaders forging the way, supported by our dedicated adult volunteers. We began holding monthly meetings, hosted social events, participated in Franklin Pride, Nashville Pride, and the Franklin Christmas Parade, and held Williamson County’s first-ever inclusive prom for over 75 students!
Our third year saw the organization of our student leaders into a formal Student Leadership Council, with seventeen students representing eleven different public, private, and home schools in Williamson County. We began holding monthly Leadership Council meetings where our student leaders came together to plan social outreach events and advocacy initiatives, discuss issues affecting their schools and community, share ideas, and support one another. Our students met with WCS school board members, superintendents, counselors, and administrators to discuss their personal experiences and suggest ways to improve the educational environment for queer students. Our social outreach events continued on a more consistent, monthly basis including our 2nd annual LGBTQIA+ prom. And in the spring of 2023, Wilco Iris split off from its parent organization, Williamson Social Justice Alliance, to stand alone as its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Wilco Iris supports LGBTQIA+ youth and their allies by providing a safe and nurturing environment for connection, outreach, and education. Our student-led group hopes to build an inclusive and empowered community for queer youth across all public, private, and home schools in Williamson County, TN.