SDSU rocks Pride 2013

by Camille Lozano

Pride Parade 2013

San Diego State showed its support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community last Saturday at the annual San Diego LGBT Pride Parade in Hillcrest.

The university celebrated the beginning of Pride Week on Wednesday, July 10, with the seventh annual Rainbow Flag Raising Ceremony on campus before participating in the parade later that week.

The LGBTQ Advisory Board at SDSU organized the contingent of more than 200 students, faculty, staff, and alumni to march in the parade. Among them were SDSU’s President Elliot Hirshman, Vice President for Student Affairs Eric Rivera, Associate Dean for the College of Sciences Cathie Atkins, Associated Students representatives and Queer Student Union members.

SDSU was permitted a larger contingent than the norm (100 participants per group) because of the support the university has shown for the LGBT community, as well as to adjust for an exceptionally large event this year following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and effectively overturn Proposition 8, San Diego LGBT Pride Parade Manager Steven Blocker said.

In addition to participation in the parade, SDSU provided a booth at the Pride Festival that presented information about LGBT efforts and resources on campus.

Queer Student Union President Thomas Negron spoke about the commitment SDSU has made to create a welcoming environment for the LGBT community on campus.  Recently, the name of the organization was changed from LGBT to Queer Student Union in order to encompass all the identities of “sexually-disenfranchised people,” Negron said.

“The Queer Student Union is an organization set up to help create a sense of community for queer people on campus, we also bring about awareness of queer issues as well as establish the fact that queer people exist,” Negron said.

The Queer Student Union will have a permanent place on campus in late fall with the completion of the Aztec Student Union.

“We are very fortunate to be inaugurating our LGBT center, which will be a resource for the entire campus,” Hirshman said. “There will be a dedicated space for the center on campus with extensive programming and ties for academic programs including LGBT studies.”

Pride Parade 2013

With the expansion of LGBT-focused resources and support on campus, in addition to the Supreme Court’s landmark decision, the attitude at Pride parade and festival this year was nothing short of exuberant.

“I think it’s great, although far overdue. I’m looking forward to individual states working to support the LGBT community, but it is a great time in our history,” A.S. President Josh Morse said.

The Pride Parade’s theme this year was “Freedom to Love and Marry” because of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn DOMA. The community took the ruling to heart with marriages being officiated on one of the parade trucks.

“We are so excited, I think this is the one of the biggest turnouts I’ve seen because of (the Supreme Court’s decision)—it is just such a momentous step in our history,” Negron said.

Ultimately, the LGBT community is holding onto hope following the landmark decision as its members press to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prevent individuals from being fired based on their sexual orientation, a practice currently legal in 29 states.

Negron felt the hope the LGBT community shared could be summed up in a quote said by the first openly gay politician Harvey Milk: “I know that you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living.’”

SDSU will continue to offer the San Diego area support and resources for the LGBT community by continually expanding awareness on campus.