Having pride about identity is in everywhere, and Oakland University’s Pride Month celebrations are about to begin to bring Pride to campus.
The university-wide OU Pride Month celebrations begin March 12 and run through April 11. Students can attend different Pride-themed events to celebrate diversity and inclusion.
OU extended its Pride celebrations to a full month in 2018 after having four years of Pride Week. Grace Wojcik, coordinator for the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC), defined pride as a “collaboration.”
“Pride Month is a university-wide collaboration, presenting opportunities to learn from and about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning and asexual (LGBTQIA) community,” Wojcik said. “It further demonstrates the university’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Pride Month is celebrated internationally in June, the month influenced by the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City on June 28, 1969, which most historians see as the start of the modern LGBTQIA+ movement, according to GLAAD.
Mickey McGlinnen, president of OU’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), said OU celebrates Pride Month in March and April because students in the school’s normal sessions are able to all come together.
“While we can’t speak for everyone, Pride is a chance for people of LGBT+ identities to feel loved, visible and proud of our identities — something that many of us don’t feel day-to-day, as our identities are often the subject of scrutiny, hate and violence,” McGlinnen said. “It is also a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come as a community, and our community’s history….It’s also so important for those outside of the community to have exposure to our experiences, culture and history, which they may not get if we did not celebrate Pride Month at OU.”
OU holds various events, including lectures, book discussions, film screenings, the Lavender Graduation Celebration, and the GSA’s Pride Prom, poetry Slam 4 Solidarity and 16th-annual Drag Show.
To celebrate Pride year-round, OU has its own organizations committed to supporting LGBT+ students.
“We have the Gender and Sexuality Center, whose director and employees are passionate about consistently helping, supporting and welcoming LGBTQIA+ students. As well as, of course, the Gay Straight Alliance, where LGBT+ students can join together and find friends and community,” McGlinnen said.
Jessica Quandt, GSC graduate assistant, said Pride Month is a reminder of how inclusive OU is and shows her just how passionate the campus offices, student orgs and faculty are about pride.
“I think it’s important to celebrate Pride Month because it is such a great way for students, faculty, staff and our OU community to become more educated about all things LGBTQIA+,” she said. “I think, especially, new students come to campus with a lot of preconceptions that may be good or bad about all kinds of things, and with diversity events like our Pride Month, I think it’s a great way for those students to formulate their own opinions and in general just be more knowledgeable on topics surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community.”
Pride Month kicks off with an opening ceremony and tribute to LGBT+ art and music Tuesday, March 12 from noon-1:30 p.m. in Gold Rooms A and B of the Oakland Center.