University of South Dakota students are celebrating LGBTQ+ communities during this year’s Pride Week.
USD’s LGBTQ+ group on campus, Spectrum: Gender and Sexuality Alliance, is hosting the events all throughout the week.
First-year Jacob Hyde is a member of Spectrum and has been helping with the activities.
He hopes “Drag Queen Bingo” will be a big hit Thursday, as prizes will be awarded, including USD gear, a TV and other electronic devices.
“We just want (students) to have a fun time. We’re also kind of trying to do some advertisement for our group to try and get more members to come and raise awareness about Pride Week,” Hyde said.
Sophomore Megan Bartels will facilitate the showing of the film “PRIDE” today as part of the week’s events.
“If anything, I hope (students) get more interested,” Bartels said. “I hope they realize that not everybody is a stereotype, like, these are actual human people and human bodies that are being affected by all sorts of different social factors, along with legislation.”
Hyde said Spectrum is especially trying to raise awareness for the Day of Silence, hosted in collaboration with Lost and Found Suicide Prevention and the Association for the Advancement of Women’s Rights.
“Friday is the Day of Silence, which is basically honoring people who’ve either been killed, bullied, or people who’ve committed suicide, mostly related to LGBT members,” he said.
Students were able to tie dye t-shirts or boxers free of charge April 14 in the Muenster University Center.
First-year Brittany Cruz attended the event and was excited for the opportunity to meet new people and learn more about other groups on campus.
“I was just walking around, and I noticed the sign, and I’m like, ‘Oh, that’d be a fun event to go to,” Cruz said.
Bartels hopes those who participate in the events of Pride Week acknowledge the different communities within LGBTQ+ and all of the things some people have gone through to realize their outlooks can change.
“It’s just like, if somebody gets even a little bit interested and like, ‘Oh, well I might’ve said something that I didn’t mean’ or ‘Oh, I learned that I have changed in some sort of way.’ Like, ‘I used to think this way, but now I think this way,” Bartels said. “I think that’s all that anybody could hope for.”
(Photo: Megan Bartels, a sophomore and member of Spectrum, squeezes dye onto a white shirt at the free tie-dye event hosted April 13. Josie Flatgard / The Volante)