SXU and Spectrum Alliance Celebrate Pride Month
Saint Xavier University (SXU) is celebrating Pride Month during June, a month of LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual and many other terms, such as non-binary and pansexual) awareness. SXU's Spectrum Alliance organization works throughout the year to promote the acceptance of diversity throughout the community and provide a safe, secure environment for the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies through educational and social programs.
Pride Month is observed in June as a time to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, a series of demonstrations by members of the LGBT community in June of 1969 after a police raid at The Stonewall Inn, a bar that catered to an assortment of marginalized communities. The riots are considered to be part of the most important events leading to the gay liberation movement and fight for LGBT rights and equality in the United States.
Spectrum Alliance members John Calaunan, a computer science and graphic design major, and Emma Farina, a sociology major, encourage the SXU community to listen and learn during the month of June and beyond. "It is important to celebrate because there is not enough support for our LGBTQIA+ peers even now in 2020. It is a time for those who choose to love who they love to be seen, be accepted and be loved back," said Calaunan.
"Being proud of who you are is essential to everyone, but especially in the LGBTQIA+ community, because so often, those outside of our community aren't proud of us. We have to and get to be proud of ourselves and others in our community," said Farina.
While Pride Month occurs during the summer break, Spectrum Alliance has celebrated together and in their own ways, and they stay engaged on social media platforms by sharing celebratory and educational information. Though we can't be together on campus, there are still ways for the SXU community to celebrate remotely. "You can visit Stonewall from home, educate yourself on LGBTQIA+ history and issues, donate to organizations and be kind to others, no matter their gender, sex or sexual identity," said Calaunan.
"You can also support queer and LGBTQIA+ artists and activists. It's super important to educate yourself on issues the community is facing, and there are many resources out there," added Farina.
Calaunan and Farina want the SXU community to know that when celebrating LGBTQIA+ members, it's critical to listen, as everyone has their own identities and wants to be heard. "It's important for hetero [heterosexuals] and cis [cisgender] people to not question the experiences of people in the LGBTQIA+ community and to respect their identities, stories and relationships. People in the SXU community can do this by supporting Spectrum and the LGBTQIA+ community on and off campus," said Farina.
Calaunan and Farina remind us that the LGBTQIA+ community is still combating many issues when it comes to equity. "We see silencing of our community members, censoring of our content and creators, bullying of all sorts and hatred for the community. To serve as allies, the SXU community can stand against the hate and educate those who are ignorant, especially since the allies have a bigger voice and will be heard first," said Calaunan.
"There is still a huge amount of ignorance and hate about and toward the LGBTQIA+ community in the world, despite how much better it may be now than 100 or even 20 years ago. I think that allies of the LGBTQIA+ community can and should do more to educate those who are hateful or ignorant of these issues. People who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community have to explain themselves every day on a very personal and tiring level, so support from allies helps educate those who may not even listen to a member of the LGBTQIA+ community," added Farina.
Throughout this year and next, Spectrum Alliance looks forward to more fun and festivities along with LGBTQIA+ history and education at SXU. Whether we continue on in a remote fashion or not, Spectrum Alliance plans to stay engaged on social media pages and in The Den.