Pride week hits campus

    Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community gathered in Revelle Plaza at noon May 9 to begin a march throughout campus as part of Out and Proud Week.

    Anna MacMurdo
    Guardian

    The LGBTA focuses on promoting the understanding of gender and sexuality issues and providing resources and support for those who need them.

    The organization began Out and Proud Week week on May 4 with the third annual Queer Youth conference. The conference focused on offering support to local queer teens and was followed by a dance at Porter’s Pub. The rest of the week was filled with film screenings, including “”Ma Vie En Rose”” and “”The Laramie Project,”” a Big Gay Picnic, a drag show, various speakers and two alliance trainings.

    In addition to these events, a booth was maintained on Library Walk all week to provide information about the LGBT community.

    Anna MacMurdo
    Guardian

    The Out and Proud march followed a path that led past Main Gym, through the Student Center, down Library Walk and into the Price Center.

    About 30 marchers, many decked out in rainbow-printed gear, chanted slogans such as, “”We’re here, we’re queer. We refuse to live in fear!”” The group attracted a wide range of reactions, from blank stares to cheers, as well as hugs and high fives from passing students.

    At the Price Center, a stage was set up where members and allies of the LGBT commnity were given the chance to speak out in front of the large lunch crowd.

    The open mic produced a variety of speakers, all enthusiastically cheered on by the crowd gathered on the steps.

    Wesley Fujimoto introduced the event by providing some context.

    “”People ask, why do we have to be out there, why don’t we just keep quiet, why isn’t there a straight awareness day, straight pride? Every fucking day of the year is straight pride,”” Fujumoto said.

    Other students spoke of past experiences of fear and uncertainty, while others simply wanted to thank friends and lovers for their support.

    “”I want you to carry my children,”” one female speaker told her girlfriend, who was sitting in the audience.

    Many speakers spoke of having had trouble in the past, either coming to terms with their sexuality or finding the support that they needed. But everyone who addressed the crowd was optimistic about the past week and the future of the LGBT community.

    “”There’s a lot of people who are still afraid to be who they are, but guess what, we’re growing.”” Brian Latham said.

    However, members did acknowledge that not all feedback had been positive.

    “”There’s a lot more knowledge and awareness, but at the same time, complementary to that, there’s a lot more anti-LGBT activity going on — a lot of people who are vocally against our politics — that are very uncomfortable that we’re here on campus,”” said Mike Kaufmann, who has been involved in LGBTA for the past three years.

    Overall, he is happy with the organization’s progress.

    “”We’re a lot more visible, a lot louder and a lot more proud than we have been in past years,”” Kaufmann said.

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