The Daily Texan – August 25, 2016
The 26th annual PRIDE celebration this week concludes tomorrow with a festival and parade.
Several LGBT organizations at UT are showing support for Austin PRIDE by hosting special events, collecting donations and participating in the parade.
“Pride is about making relationships,” said Austin Dennis, network chair of the Pride Alumni Network for Texas Exes. “Our network exists to keep LGBTQ alumni connected with the University and to connect current LGBT students in order to build relationships and advocate for issues.”
Dennis said the Network will be tabling at the festival and will participate in the parade this upcoming Saturday.
“At the festival there will be tons of groups, organizations and businesses promoting themselves and showing support for PRIDE, in addition to vendors, rides and performers,” Dennis said. “It’s great to hangout and enjoy the community.”
Dennis said that one way UT could work to be more inclusive is to include more gender options on University applications.
“Make it more welcoming for people who don’t fall in the binaries, and let them apply as who they are,” Dennis said.
On Tuesday, the Gender and Sexuality Center held an open house to inform students of upcoming events and introduce them to other student groups.
“Austin Pride has been a refuge for members of the LGBTQ community, with its festive joy and resilient march,” said Liz Elsen, interim director of the Gender and Sexuality Center. “It is an outlet to express who they are and a safe place to celebrate who they love. LGBTQ existence in and of itself is an inherent form of resilience, and Austin Pride ensures that its existence be more than acknowledged — that it be celebrated and felt.”
Elsen said attendees of the festival and parade can expect to be showered in glitter, communal support and love.
UT’s Queer People of Color and Allies hosted its annual welcome event, the BLOQ Party on Thursday, with free T-shirts, music and food.
“Austin pride is a celebration of our communities and thus, different organizations take part in the festival and parade,” said Javier Rivera, director of operations for Queer People of Color and Allies.
“QPOCA contributes to the self-empowerment and visibility of people of color and queer people and their communities at UT,” Rivera said. “UT has a lot of work to do to become more inclusive of all its students. A big way UT can work to be more inclusive is for its resources it provides is to be more competent in the areas involving gender identity and sexuality.”
The PRIDE Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, with an entry fee of $17 for adults and $10 for children. The parade begins at 8 p.m., which can be watched at no cost.
On Aug. 31, Texas Queer Student Alliance will host their first event of the semester, Splash Party, at the Gregory pool. They will distribute free pizza, T-shirts and Tiff’s Treats as they welcome students to the organization.