October is LGBT History Month and Oswego State’s Pride Alliance is taking full advantage of this time to promote LGBT+ events, holidays and compassion for students who need support.
During the month of October, many students, staff and members of the local area take time to honor the historical and prominent members of the LGBT+ community who have made steps toward LGBT rights and advancements. Oswego State’s Pride Alliance takes this month to celebrate students’ pride, individuality and to showcase LGBT+ events.
Senior Marian Holmes, the president of Pride Alliance, looks positively at LGBT History Month and feels that it is a very important time because it brings the campus together. She said the month highlights past and current LGBT efforts for equality.
“It’s really important because it’s a public display of support beyond and I think on top of that, it’s a way to celebrate those who have come before and have helped pave the way to allow us to exist,” Holmes said. “I that’s something that’s commonly forgotten, that people who fought, like Stonewall, allowed for the creation of things like the Pride Alliance and people forget to say thank you. I feel like it’s almost the LGBT Thanksgiving.”
Pride Alliance is Oswego State’s only LGBTQIA+ organization and works to bring about acceptance, understanding and change to the campus, students and staff. Not only does Pride Alliance promote equality and change, but it also serves as an outlet for LGBT students and straight allies. Sophomore Devon Perkins, a double major in philosophy and global & international studies said that Pride Alliance is a good group for him to be a part of in college.
“To me it means being able to live where I wanna live, because as a trans-person, it’s kind of hard to know who to call and where to go and where to find a good roommate,” Perkins said. “Because, you know, not everyone would not be okay with living with someone who’s gay or living with someone who’s trans.”
Oswego State’s Pride Alliance holds events and meetings during the entire school year, but some of its signature events are held during LGBT History Month. On Oct. 10, the Pride Alliance organization handed out free T-shirts in preparation for National Coming Out Day celebration and on Thursday the group handed out purple ribbons in honor of “Spirit Day.” The group further celebrates the month by hosting various discussion events and inviting LGBT+ speakers to the campus. All of this action by Pride Alliance aims to inform students and support acceptance on campus.
“It means quite a bit because I mean, you learn all about the history and we’re bringing in a lot of people like speakers and stuff like that to talk about different LGBT issues,” Perkins said. “So we’re essentially making history, through educating people.”
Pride Alliance and its events during LGBT History Month are not only there to serve students, but to remind the campus of just how far LGBT rights and equality has moved forward.
“I think it’s easy to go ‘Oh, not all 50 states have gay marriage, oh, not all 50 states recognize same-sex benefits, oh, this and that is wrong,’” Holmes said. “I think it’s easy to get caught up in the negative but I think sometimes it’s important to look back and see how far we’ve actually come, which is further than a lot of people give credit for.”
On Oct. 11, Pride Alliance and Oswego State students observed National Coming Out Day by wearing T-shirts that either read “I Support Equality” or “Out and Proud.” Students were seen all over campus wearing the shirts, and communication major Christina Grehlinger agreed with Pride Alliance’s message.
“I think it really gives a voice to those people that maybe not necessarily wanna openly say it, but when they see a group in society that they see that they can fit in with without having to say anything,” Grehlinger said. “I think it makes it easier for them. So I think it’s a positive thing.”
Going further on Pride Alliance’s LGBT friendly events, Olivia Basile, double major in graphic design and communication, supports Pride Alliance’s bridge-building efforts with campus events.
“I think they do a really good job getting everyone involved, whether you do identify LGBT or if you’re completely on the other aspect of it, and I think they are pretty inviting for anyone that wants to join or get involved,” Basile said. “I went to their ‘drag ball’ last year and it was so much fun. They have good events.”
Pride Alliance has weekly meetings on Thursdays at 7p.m. in room 133 in the Campus Center. The group also has an office in room 107 at The Point where LGBT students can go to during office hours. They have also created an anonymous chat option this year on their website, for students who seek advice and support. Events and more information can be found at their website pridealliance.wix.com/pridealliance, such as their famous ‘Drag Ball’ on Oct. 28.