SA transformed October into Pride Month at TU for the second year in a row, this time hoping to be both fun and educational.
Although June has been designated as LGBT Pride Month, in honor of the Stonewall Riots, October is considered LGBT History Month. TU’s celebration of Pride spans October to November.
This year marks TU’s second Pride Month celebration, headed by Greyson Chance, the executive director of the student awareness committee for SA. This committee focuses on social causes without much recognition or visibility, and Chance felt that the LGBT community at TU could use more visibility.
To bring the community more visibility, SA has four major events: a kick-off event, a movie screening, an academic panel and a student-led panel. Chance worked with Dani Rosales, who heads Pride at TU, a student run club, to ensure the club also had its “hands in it as well.”
Last year’s pride month, Chance said, had an abundance of panels, which he said could’ve made the month a “downer.” While this year still incorporates panels, other events, like a movie screening, have been added.
Both the kick-off event and movie screening have already happened. During the academic panel, the guests, who will include a law professor, a graduate student and others, will focus on “institutional and systemic issues in the US and Oklahoma,” with a major focus being Tulsa in specific. This will occur November 15. For the student-led panel, which will include members of the LGBT community and an ally, Chance said it will be narrative focused. The inclusion of a straight, cisgendered ally is meant to indicate how the LBGT+ community needs allies stepping up for them to continue moving forward, according to Chance.
During this month, Chance hopes that students who are unsure of these issues attend some of the events, as they’re meant to be both fun and educational and “start a larger conversation happening here.”
While this month is in its “embryonic stage,” Chance hopes it becomes tradition for TU. Planning the month has led to discussions about how TU can be more friendly to LGBT+.
One avenue to explore that was brought up has been admissions — Chance referenced how when he was admitted to TU, he wasn’t sure how accepting the wider community would be, as it was unclear to him how closely associated TU still was with the Presbyterian church. He hoped, in the future, admissions would make it more clear to incoming freshman that TU was a safe space to be your true self. During freshman orientation, Chance added that postcards discussing LGBT+ resources could be given out along with other informational brochures students are given. Although TU President Gerard Clancy spoke at the kick-off event, Chance hoped the greater TU administration might, one day, have programming during Pride month, to show their involvement.
The committee has other events planned throughout the year, for disability awareness, international women’s day and potentially an eating disorder week, but nothing else currently LGBT+ focused.