Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Pride is for everyone

Schuyler Burke

As Pride Month draws to a close, it’s imperative to remember the lasting importance of queer visibility in our community. Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall Uprising, a historical turning point for the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the ongoing struggle of queer people to achieve peace and joy in a cisheteronormative state. 

Activists and those affected by queer oppression host rallies, parades and protests year-round. But people outside of the community, even allies, often turn their attention away from Pride, not seeing it as their place or responsibility, which can leave those who belong to the community intimidated to stand out from their cishet peers. However, Pride’s impact diminishes when fewer people participate. 

“I definitely try and support locally owned, queer businesses, especially during Pride Month,” radio-television-film junior Mikayla Hynes said. “Whether that be here or online, and queer supporting companies (that) try to spread the word about being accepting of everyone and being an outlet for people who may have struggles with that.” 

Seeking out affirming spaces is a great way to support queer people and engage with the community, especially in Texas, where many places remain hostile to us. Celebrating Pride with others can shine a light on the hope the LGBTQ+ community has for a brighter future. 

“I got to see queer people’s art and different queer media from UT’s history, and people just felt safe,” Hynes said. “There needs to be support from higher-ups and support from communities that aren’t just LGBTQ-related.”

With recent legislative restrictions on Texas universities, fostering spaces to celebrate queer joy is more important than ever. In January, SB-17 forced UT’s Gender and Sexuality Center to close, removing LGBTQ+ safe spaces on campus and thereby potentially putting queer students’ safety and mental health at risk. Living in this era of anti-queer legislation, queer people and allies alike must come together to create safe, accepting places to show Pride. 

Andrea Rodriguez, a communication and leadership junior, saw the need for queer-friendly environments when she founded The Lesbian On-Campus Visibility and Engagement Club.

“Everyone has their own unique set of difficulties and positive experiences, so I felt that myself and all the other lesbians in my life would benefit from having a specialized space for us,” Rodriguez said. 

Students interested in finding affirming spaces for themselves might look into Pride events off campus. Austin’s main Pride celebration is hosted in August to allow more students to attend, and the Austin Chronicle’s Qmunnity publishes local Pride events year-round. 

“I’ve never felt an issue with expressing myself and being myself as a lesbian, but I do feel that a lot of the spaces we have and a lot of the privilege we have to express ourselves is because queer students are doing the work,” Rodriguez said. 

For students to feel entirely safe being themselves on campus, everyone, from queer students to allied professors, must celebrate and normalize LGBTQ+ identities. For example, cisgender allies can offer their pronouns in introductions so that genderqueer students feel comfortable sharing their own. 

“Everyone should get involved in Pride,” Rodriguez said.  “The majority of people would love to see any kind of support. A lot of the time, it’s easy to feel divided … and the support of non-queer students could help change that.”

The responsibility of building communities that are safe for queer people to live authentically and joyfully belongs to all of us. 

Jackson is a Plan II and journalism junior from Boerne, Texas.

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About the Contributor
Schuyler Burke, Illustration Coordinator
Schuyler is an Arts and Entertainment Technologies Sophomore from Austin, Texas. Currently she works as an Illustration Coordinator for the Opinion Department at the Texan. She was previously an opinion Illustrator. Schuyler loves to create and read in her free time.