A student leader at Ripon, Reynolds ’14 remains active in LGTBQ+ advocacy

Frankie Reynolds ’14, more commonly known as Rosette Reynolds during her time as a student at Ripon College, “came out” as a high school freshman at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago. “By the time I got to Ripon, I was a fairly confident, established gay who had a community back at home to fall back on,” she says.  

She used that confidence to spark a change at Ripon, transforming the previously named “The Network” into what is known today as the Queer-Straight Alliance. “I was the president of QSA for at least two years at Ripon and led the name change,” she says. “The Network was an intentionally obtuse name and reflective of a time on campus when students didn’t feel safe being out. I wanted the name to be more reflective of the times and less cloaked in secrecy. It was important to me that gay or queer was in the name. During my time at Ripon, I worked with a lot of students who experienced some shame around their sexuality or gender identity, and I didn’t think they were served by an organization whose name implied discretion.”

Under Frankie’s leadership, QSA petitioned for single-use toilets to be gender-neutral, hosted drag shows on campus and sponsored Ripon College Sex Week, or “Ripon Gets It On” — a week dedicated to sex education and sexual violence prevention. “That was probably one of the cooler things I did during my time at Ripon,” she says. “One of the beautiful things about a small school is how a little money goes a long way and how a few risqué posters can get everyone talking about a certain topic.”

She recalls how QSA became an active and involved student organization on campus. “We co-hosted all the major events with other organizations, including Greek life, which expanded the reach and got a very eclectic mix of people at events which ranged from bystander intervention training to academic discussions on the impact of pornography on sexuality,” she says.

Frankie graduated from Ripon with majors in business management and economics and continues her LGTBQ+ advocacy as interim chief of strategy and business development for Howard Brown Health, one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ health and social service organizations serving more than 40,000 people each year. 

“Howard Brown is deeply rooted in LGBTQ+ liberation,” says Frankie. “They provide affirming health care and mobilize for social justice. In my work, I aim to help eliminate health disparities experienced by LGBTQ+ people by ensuring access to high quality and affirming care regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.”

She says this includes the full spectrum of healthcare from services that are more community-specific, such as gender-affirming hormone therapy and HIV prevention, to the more general but similarly essential  primary health, behavioral care and dental care.

“Most recently, I led the construction and operationalization of the agency’s new flagship location Howard Brown Halsted (a 91,000-square-foot, five-floor health center that includes retail, pharmacy, lab, dental and  generous clinical space located in Chicago’s historically LGBTQ neighborhood) and Broadway Youth Center (a safe haven for LGBTQ+ youths and young people experiencing homelessness or housing instability, offering integrated health care and social services to anyone ages 12 to 24),” Frankie says.

“Outside of what I do for work, I just live my gay life with my cute little gay family,” she says. Frankie married her wife, Liz, in 2021, and Liz gave birth to a son, Hank, in 2023. “Liz and I intentionally try to channel our dollars, when possible, to supporting queer businesses, artists and parties; I volunteer grant-writing services for some smaller local LGBTQ+ organizations focused on disability justice and prison abolition; and you better believe our house looks real prideful all June.

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