Dr. Brenda Risch
Executive Director, Borderland Rainbow Center
Dr. Risch has extensive experience in the area of gender and sexuality issues and a rich academic background, completing a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature focusing on Gender Studies and representations of the body and a Masters in Social Work.
Dr. Risch served as the Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at UTEP from 2006-2015. During this time she completed academic work directly related to the LGBTQ community such as creating the Frontera Pride Film Festive in 2009 and 2010, which showcased films by and about the LGBTQ community. She completed two major quantitative studies of sexual attitudes, behaviors, and experiences on the UTEP campus (SABES 2 sample size 701, and SABES 3 sample size 1332). And also the project entitled “Engendering Community: An LGBTQ Oral History of the El Paso/Juárez Borderland.” This project consisted of collecting 120 oral histories. She curated a major museum exhibit at the Centennial Museum in June of 2015. Dr. Risch has also studied the needs of the El Paso LGBT Community in her 2016 survey LGBTQ Community Needs Assessment of the El Paso/Las Cruces Region. Dr. Risch founded an LGBTQ community center--the Borderland Rainbow Center-- in September of 2016, which serves LGBTQ people of all ages with trauma-informed therapy, support groups, a food pantry, educational workshops, and substance-free social activities.
In addition, Dr. Risch has helped plan and deliver 3 community “Coming Out Workshops” and dozens of workshops on LGBTQ issues including LGBTQ Cultural Competence and best practices (including ones offered for CEUs for social workers and licensed professional counselors), over 30 papers and workshops concerning gender and sexuality issues, and over 10 workshops on pedagogy and innovative teaching. Dr. Risch is trained in EMDR through EMDRIA.