On Saturday, April 9, from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m., the annual Pride event will be held in the Quad and Traffic Circle. This event is hosted by the University’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance, the Fairfield University Student Association Diversity & Inclusion Board and Fairfield United.
The event will feature a lunch on the Quad with “music and fun activities,” according to an April 4 email sent by FUSA. The lunch will be followed by a march through campus, Fairfield’s very own Pride Parade. The email also noted that “PRIDE 2022 is the celebration of our fellow queer students and queer liberation.”
In addition to the three organizations hosting Pride, there will also be tables for the Dimenna-Nyselius Library and Campus Ministry to show how support for the LGBTQ+ community goes across all of campus.
Director of D&I Eden Marchese ‘23 hopes “that students will be able to see the beauty of the LGBTQ+ community.”
“More often than not, marginalized groups have their trauma and struggles advertised to the world, but the Pride event allows for the joy of being queer to shine through,” they added.
Marchese noted that this year’s Pride will really emphasize the theme of community. There will be a barbecue in the Quad with yard games, which will provide an opportunity for attendees to mingle among one another at the event.
At the moment, there are no planned speakers at this year’s Pride event.
“We really wanted to allow the event to be more open so that students can come to participate at any point in the day and still be able to enjoy Pride as much as someone that has been at the event since it opened,” Marchese said.
This year marks the third year of an annual Pride event at the University. Last year’s event was restricted due to COVID policies as well as weather restrictions. Several LGBTQ+ students and faculty spoke at the event, sharing their personal experiences within the LGBTQ+ community and explaining what Pride means to them.
Last year’s event also featured tie-dying t-shirts that featured the FUSA logo atop a Pride flag, bracelet making and allowed students to pick up pride flags, stickers and pins.
As reported in the Mirror on April 14, 2021, there was some controversy surrounding last year’s spring Pride celebration since there was also one held in the fall, however, the fall event was thrown solely by FUSA, and GSA was not included in the planning of the event. GSA was involved with the planning and execution of the spring Pride event, though, and Francis was one of the featured speakers.
President of GSA Ruby Francis ‘22 shared, “It is extremely important for us to plan this event and now host it because we are the students that the event is for. Without queer students at the table, there is no real pride — it’s just performative.”
Secretary of GSA, Ray Hinds ‘23 was not involved in previous Pride events, but stated that “this one will be significantly better!”
“FUSA is now involved in a way that is beneficial to the expansion of queer visibility, especially since Eden at the [D&I] Board has been working and assisting us through the process,” Hinds said. “FUSA being involved allows for representation of queer students in leadership roles, which may very well mean that other queer students may look into having those positions and working with them.”
Hinds continued to commend FUSA for being “on the path to becoming more receptive to queer identity and that is important.”
Marchese hopes students who attend the event, of course celebrate Pride, but also come to grow an appreciation for the LGBTQ+ students on-campus.
“I hope that students will come to appreciate the LGBTQ+ students on campus more from this event,” they said. “Fairfield University has a large ‘underground’ LGBTQ+ population that sadly does not feel comfortable enough to ‘come out’ and I hope that events like Pride will help push the campus culture to be more accepting of anyone who may be in the LGBTQ+ community.”
Francis noted the importance of allies attending pride.
“It is important for allies to attend Pride because you can see queer joy rather than having to stand up for the community,” she said. “Just remember that it’s our space, not yours.”
Hinds reiterated Francis’ statements.
“Allies are the first line of the defense and also show non-allies what it means to be a decent and respectful human being,” Hinds said. “Allies are friends, families and more and are necessary to making queer individuals seen.”
They added that “the more allies that are present, the better.”
Continuing, Hinds said, “This includes students, family, faculty and staff! You are all invited! I also believe allies may make the space more comfortable for queer students as it shows queer students there are individuals who care and love them for who they are.”
Pride this year will be one of the largest events GSA has hosted since the start of the pandemic, Hinds mentioned. Francis added that this year’s event is particularly exciting since “every year we’ve had an event, the weather has been cold and rainy, so I can’t wait for literal sunshine and rainbows.”
GSA Social Media Coordinator Julia Talamini ‘22 shared sentiments ahead of the event.
“Queer students attending Fairfield University deserve representation on their campus and this day could be one day for these students to feel extra welcomed and supported in their community,” Talamini said. “We encourage everyone of all genders and sexualities to attend, especially to show their support.”
Hinds similarly hopes that this event sends the message to students at Fairfield “that your queerness is something that is welcomed and cherished, and you should not have to feel the need to hide yourself here.”
Francis added her take to what she hopes students who attend Pride will get from the event.
“I hope that this shows students on campus that queer students are here even if it doesn’t always seem like it,” she said. “I want them to see that we deserve a space to celebrate and live openly and I also want queer students to see that there is a big community at Fairfield waiting to accept them with open arms.”
If students have any questions about the upcoming events, they can reach out to FUSA using their email email@example.com. Students interested in learning more about GSA can follow them on their Instagram @fairfieldu.gsa or by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.