Fun and advocacy is the theme for this year’s Pride Week. Swag bags, Yote Floats, presenters, Gayme night and GLSEN’s Day of Silence will all be events during the week in the Muenster
Spectrum: Gender and Sexuality Alliance provides outreach to members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies at USD. The group has been planning Pride Week since January.
Nate Keane, sophomore Spectrum president, said Pride Week showcases what the student organization is about.
“Pride Week (is about) letting students know that we’re an organization on campus and we’re open to everyone, whether you’re in the LGBT community or you’re an ally, or you would like to educate yourself more on other LGBT-related issues and events that are happening,” Keane said.
Olivia Mann, a junior criminal justice and sociology double major, said talking about LGBTQ+ issues is important.
Some of those issues will be discussed Friday at a panel of Spectrum members at 7 p.m., Mann said.
“We will have seven students on the panel and we will all be covering different topics. Personally, I will be talking about multi-sexuality, which is the sexual orientation where someone is attracted to more than one gender,” Mann, a member of Spectrum and an SGA senator, said. “I will be talking about what those sexualities are, what some of the unique challenges people in those sexualities face are and kind of what role they traditionally played in the LGBT community.”
That community feeling is what Spectrum hoped to showcase during the first event on Monday, which consisted of tabling in the MUC. Keane said the first 60 people that came to their table received a swag bag, which included a pride flag and Spectrum’s agenda for next year.
Information on LGBTQ+ issues was provided during Tuesday’s Yote Floats. On Wednesday, Pride Speaks will be held in the Center for Diversity and Community at 7 p.m. Three prominent speakers in the LGBTQ+ community will share their personal stories with attendees. Keane said one speaker is Joe McCully, a USD alumnus who will have a presentation on HIV, STD and
“Thursday we have Gayme night in the CDC, (which is) a social event where people can play games and get to know each other,”
Lastly, Friday will be Day of Silence, where Spectrum members won’t converse with anyone out of respect for lives lost in the LGBTQ+ community. This Day of Silence pays tribute to tragedies such as the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting that happened
“We don’t talk to one another out of respect for any tragedy that has happened within the LGBT community,” Keane said.
Keane said there will also be a panel where students tell personal stories and answer questions in the CDC on Friday at 7 p.m.
Mann said USD students can learn a lot from Pride Week’s events.
“A lot of people talk about diversity and inclusive excellence, but what people don’t realize is that being competent in inclusive excellence in diversity issues makes you a better person because then you can learn, ‘Hey, I shouldn’t use this slur to refer to this group of people,’” Mann said.
Mann said the LGBTQ+ community has a history of perseverance.
“Stonewall is about perseverance because that was the night the LGBT community said, ‘No, you’re not going to sweep us under the rug.’ It was also a night that showed how people could come together,” Mann said. “Pride Week showcases perseverance, diversity and strength.”
That strength and welcoming attitude of the LGBTQ+ community is what guided sophomore criminal justice major Malikai Kayser to join Spectrum, he said.
“Spectrum is a place where I can come and talk to my friends and get to know people better and find a community that fits really well with me,” Kayser said. “Freshman year I didn’t make any friends, so I have been able to make friends through Spectrum.”
Kayser said he hopes Pride Week will provide inclusiveness across campus.
“Pride Week to me is just to get awareness of everybody’s sexualities or genders, that we aren’t this weird in-the-closet kind of thing,” Kayser said. “We are someone that’s a person and wants to be someone more.”
Keane said it’s important for students to be involved in LGBTQ+ conversations.
“If you haven’t been to any prideful event it’s a good thing to experience,” Keane said. “USD really pushes its diversity, so they try and aim different diverse areas of the world, and while the LGBT community is relevant in every community, it’s also good to know your different communities within your own community.”