By Sophia Kirschenman
A community of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, queers and allies united last Saturday for the second campus PRIDE March. The group met in the Bay Tree Plaza and proceeded to march to each of the residential colleges as well as family student housing. At each of the colleges, a group of organizers and students were waiting with refreshments, activities and snacks to sustain the marchers.
The marchers, an assembly of children, students, and adults, carried a variety of decorated signs with sayings such as “Christians who love. Period” and “Hatred is not a family value.” They also decorated the scene with light and dark blue pride shirts, multi-colored balloons, flags, wristbands and even snow cones.
Lauren Swanson, an advisor on the pride committee and creator of the PRIDE t-shirts, explained that they have been planning the event since fall quarter and that it unites all of the colleges on campus.
“[The march] incorporates all of the colleges in one large event, which is something that is very rare. It makes all of the colleges work together for a cause,” Swanson said. “It’s important because it gives queer people and allies on campus visibility.”
As the marchers continued from college to college cars honked in support of the cause. Students waved out of their dorm windows and some even joined the march.
While walking through College Nine and College Ten, Mike Yamauchi’Gleason, college administrative officer of Kresge and Porter, said there were probably over a hundred marchers and once the march ended at Kresge, there would be well over two hundred participants. He also emphasized the importance of the march.
“It’s a really positive event. It’s a chance for queers and allies to come together to celebrate their relationship,” Yamauchi’Gleason said.
As the marchers continued several leaders shouted chants such as “When I say queer, you say here.” The leaders and participants would then do call and response chants to inform people walking by and to wake up the different colleges.
Among the student leaders chanting was Nico Archer, one of the key organizers of the event and leader of the march. He explained that the event this year was bigger than last year as more organizations were involved both on and off campus. He also explained the most important goals.
“My primary intention for this event is to celebrate the beauty of the queer experience, but simultaneously to offer each individual college [the opportunity to] build their own individual college sense of pride,” Archer said. “The idea is that queer issues aren’t queer people issues â€“ they’re everyone’s issues. The whole idea of the ally-ship, I think, is the central theme to this festival”
At the end of the procession, the tired marches arrived at their final destination â€“ Kresge College. There, they found the PRIDE Festival complete with music, more refreshments, crafts, buttons, clothing, and popcorn, among other activities and attractions.
At this site, there was also a memorial gallery for Chancellor Denton. The gallery consisted of paintings and a poem as well as other artwork.
Organizer Nico Archer concluded by saying that these events have great results.
“Out of this event there are coming [about] ten different events and more visibility, heightened awareness, and hopefully a stronger sense of community ownership on queer issues,” Archer said. “I think that when people walk away with a smile and a really good feeling, then you’ve done your job.”