Monday marked the kickoff of UT’s Queer & Trans Student Alliance’s Pride Week.
QTSA began the week with an event that consisted of various organizations coming together to inform the UT community about different social spaces available on campus. The theme of the week, “Pride Resistance,” is the result of QTSA’s desire to showcase ways people can become socially active in advocating for queer and trans rights, whether through protesting or less vocal forms of activism, said QTSA co-director Josh Rudd.
“We wanted to bring the roots back to was sort of this activism and social advocacy core that is in the center of queer and trans rights movements,” Rudd said.
Various events are planned for Pride Week focusing on promoting advocacy, creating a sustainable dialogue concerning the need for LGBTQ equality and informing the public about different ways to get involved in promoting social justice.
“What we’re really trying to do is have this community-building aspect and really focus on the fact that we can’t do this alone, and that we have to work with other communities that are marginalized and oppressed, and we have to have an intersectional framework in which we can enact our liberation for all people,” Rudd said.
The need for intersectional discussions to thrive is not lost on QTSA, said Rudd. Organizations representing minority communities, such as Queer & Asian and FLORES, as well as organizations not directly associated with the LGBTQ community, such as UT Voices Against Violence, were present at the kickoff.
“We know that queerness is not the only identity that someone is walking into the room (with),” said Bex Arton, a Voices Against Violence student coordinator. “They’re walking into a room with a racial identity, with their ability status, with their immigration status.”
Monday’s event provided a chance not only for returning students to take part in Pride Week, but to also target new students who are looking for spaces that give them the opportunity to be themselves.
“I believe that UT has a lot of different LGBT (clubs and events),” said Orlando Beckum, a psychology freshman who identifies as being part of the LGBTQ community. “They all help to build the community and protect those that are in the community, and I think that’s a really good thing.”