On Sunday, April 11, the Fairfield University Student’s Association partnered with the Gender and Sexuality Alliance to hold the Second Annual Pride March. Though the event was originally set to be held outside, due to inclement weather, it was moved into the lower level of the John A. Barone Campus Center.
At the event, attendees were able to tie-dye shirts that featured the FUSA logo atop of Pride flags, make bracelets and pick up pride flags, stickers and pins.
There were several speakers at the event including Professors Niall Brennan Ph.D. and Tiffany Wilgar Ph.D.
President of GSA Ruby Francis ‘22 also spoke at the event and the importance of creating visibility for the LGBTQ+ community on campus.
“When I first came to Fairfield, I had no idea if there was a queer community here, and if there was, where would I find?” Francis said. “I’ve gotten to know so many lovely people through the club, but GSA is not the end all be all of the LGBTQ+ community on this campus.”
Francis echoed the calls made for visibility and stated that “visibility is more than just showing people that we exist.”
However, Francis remains hopeful that not only visibility will be achieved, but that Fairfield will become “A place where LGBTQ+ students can truly and authentically not only exist but thrive.”
In a statement sent to The Mirror, Francis emphasized the importance of Pride. She went on to state that it allows those in the LGBTQ+ community, “A chance to celebrate, as well as remember those who came before us and the work that still needs to be done.”
She went further to state the importance of a Pride Event at Fairfield University, due to its position as a Jesuit Catholic University, “Many LGBTQ+ students here feel out of place or even unsafe at times and an event like the Pride March is an important step in making this campus more accepting. The LGBTQ+ community here deserves to be celebrated and supported and it must go beyond events like this,” said Francis.
This is not the only Pride March held this year, there was one held last semester but it was thrown solely by FUSA, and GSA was not included in the planning of this event. This caused some disappointment felt by Francis and other members of GSA. Though they were included in the planning for the event last year, this year they were only notified of the event a few days prior, and as Francis stated that, “The event had little to do with Pride besides rainbows, despite it occurring during LGBTQ+ history month.”
In an attempt to rectify the situation, they reached out to FUSA and Francis states that they simply stated GSA’s lack of involvement was an oversight and that they were focused on the University’s COVID-19 guidelines.
“Which in my opinion” Francis stated, “Does not excuse not involving us, especially as we were included in planning the Pride March the year before.”
She went further to state, “Our club’s involvement is very necessary as representatives of Fairfield’s LGBTQ+ community. We know how to rightfully represent the community and what LGBTQ+ students want to see in an event like this.”
The Mirror reached out to FUSA for comment, and Aarushi Vijay ‘22, the Director of FUSA’s Diversity and Inclusion Board stated that they acknowledged the mistake and apologized for not including them.
She went on to state, “Since then, we have moved forward and worked closely with them on the planning and execution of the Second Annual Pride March. We are excited that we were able to partner with GSA for this event and hope our collaborative effort will serve to make this tradition more meaningful for the LGBTQ+ community on campus”
For students who want to get involved in GSA, you can find them on Life@Fairfield, email them at email@example.com, and follow them on Instagram @fualliance.