Campus & Community

LGBTQIA+ PRIDE MONTH: More Than a Parade

By Naniyah McClain

Member of Social Media Team and Staff Writers

Many Pride parades have been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean inaction.

Companies and major corporations are changing their solid-colored logos and merchandise into rainbow print patterns in June, a month dedicated to amplify and empower the voices of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Queer/Questioning and Asexual communities around the world.

But it’s easy for people to lose sight of the true meaning behind LGBTQIA+ Pride Month. 

Its origin has its place at the Stonewall Inn, located in Greenwich Village in New York, in 1969, one of the few bars that served as a safe haven for the LGBT community. It was common for police officers to raid the bar while physically abusing and indecently exposing its patrons and employees. The patrons had enough of the constant surveillance of spaces that made them feel safe, and threw different items at the police officer and arriving officers while chanting “gay power” and “we want freedom now.”

This led to a powerful movement known as the Stonewall Riots — a notable moment in history for the LGBTQ+ community — that fought against the violence, discrimination that the community had faced.

Take ‘Pride’ at FDU

Even though some laws have improved the lives of LGBTQIA+ communities in America, widespread discrimination and violence continue. The LGBTQIA+  community continues to fight against homophobia, transphobia and aphobia.

Spectrum is an organization with five executive board members in the FDU Metropolitan Campus who make sure to uplift the voices of the LGBTQIA+ community and demand equality.

Spectrum President Donte Novak shared his insights with The Equinox about the organization, what Pride means and the need to continue the fight for equality at FDU.  

  • Does Spectrum have any virtual events in store for Pride Month?

We are planning on having a virtual meeting for the last day of Pride month, June 30. We want to end June on a high note and together. Because we were not able to have any actual Pride marches, we want the FDU community and friends to come and celebrate with us with their pride gear. We will be putting a flyer out on our Instagram page @spectrumfdu.

  • How do you and individual executive board members celebrate Pride Month?

Personally, I celebrate pride by supporting Trans owned businesses, being visible on social media as a Black Trans man and being open to sharing my story and helping educate anyone I can.

Other E-board members celebrate by attending pride festivals, donating to organizations, volunteering their time to support our community, and providing some education on how Pride came to be the giant celebration that it is now.

  • What does Pride mean to you?

Pride to me is that feeling of confidence in myself. It’s a sense of accomplishment because I get to represent for my community and for those in my community who can’t. 

[It] means to have confidence in yourself. 

Going to Pride is amazing because it is a place where you are able to feel free and be in a place where everyone is accepted by everyone, because not all places are like that.

Think Beyond Rainbow-Colored Merchandise

Instead of taking down the rainbow-colored flags and “going back to normal” in the wake of July, normalize embracing and being in support of LGBTQIA+ communities for the entire year.

Pride Month should be thought of as the month of honoring the strength, courage, perseverance and visibility of the LGBTQIA+ communities/activists of the past and present.

Remember there wouldn’t be a Pride Month without organizations such as the Gay Liberation Front (where African-American transgender LGBT Rights activist, Marsha P. Johnson, was one of the founding members) and Gay Activists Alliance

Editor’s Note: Donte Novak, president of Spectrum, says the organization is looking for new e-board members. If you would like to join, visit Spectrum’s Instagram page @spectrumfdu. The link to the application is in the bio.

Photo of Spectrum President Donte Nowak