This year’s celebration of Pride @ Yale — an annual month of events in which the University’s LGBTQ community celebrates its identity, history and culture — will feature a multitude of events, including spoken word shows, crafting workshops and cooking classes.
Pride @ Yale 2019 kicked off last Sunday with a lecture and Q&A session with community organizer Charlene Carruthers, author of “Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements.” The series of events, sponsored by the LGBTQ Co-Op, aims to create an “inclusive and celebratory atmosphere for the entire Yale community and beyond, regardless of sexual and gender identity,” according to the Office of LGBTQ Resources’ website.
“It’s really exciting to have a reason to put a lot of time and energy and effort … to celebrate and support, but also [to] raise awareness about issues that have intersections with queerness, and to have a dedicated time to do that,” said LGBTQ Co-Op Co-Coordinator Jesica Springer ’22.
According to Associate Director of the Office of LGBTQ Resources Andrew Dowe ’08, Yale has held similar celebrations since 1977, although the format and length have changed through the years. He noted that over the years he has been at Yale, he has seen the programming offered during Pride month “grow and grow,” which he said reflects the expanding range of student experiences on campus and students’ increasing comfort with expressing and sharing their identities at Yale.
Sunday’s kickoff event, held at the Afro-American Cultural Center, was co-hosted by the Office of LGBTQ Resources, the Black Student Alliance at Yale, CTCORE and several other organizations. At the talk, Carruthers spoke about her experience in community organizing for black and queer movements. She stressed the inherent intersectionality of identities within movements, arguing that the term “intersectional feminism” is redundant, “like saying chai tea.”
“If your feminism doesn’t have an intersectional analysis, then how is that feminism? … The whole point of doing the work in that way is so that we capture as complete of a story as possible about what is happening,” Carruthers said. “Incomplete stories lead to incomplete solutions.”
Dowe told the News that Carruthers’ event was a good way to kick off the month-long celebration because “it called attention to the incredible diversity of experiences that are captured under the large umbrella of Pride.”
As April continues, Pride @ Yale events will occur “all but three days of the month,” Springer said.
Although Pride month is celebrated nationwide in June, Springer noted that it is good for Yale to have its own month dedicated to Pride events. She explained that some students may not feel comfortable or safe celebrating Pride in June depending on where they live at the time, and others may not have a community with which to celebrate it outside of the University.
“Access and [comfort] in terms of being able to participate in something like Pride is not something that everyone is able to do,” Springer said. “Outside of the question of why have a Pride at all, that is why I think it’s so important to have a Pride here while students are here.”
Springer added that New Haven celebrates Pride in September, which gives students another opportunity to celebrate Pride during the academic year.
Springer hopes Yale’s Pride month will serve as a gateway into Yale’s LGBTQ community for students who identify as queer but have yet to get involved with the community on campus. While she said she often hears positive feedback from people when they attend events in the LGBTQ community for the first time, such as regular Queer Brunches or Queer Crafternoons at the Office of LGBTQ Resources, it can be a challenge to get people to come to these events in the first place.
“The number of people who are active in the queer community compared to the number who identify as queer on campus — there’s a huge discrepancy there,” Springer said. “So we have been really actively thinking about that in what we’re presenting in terms of trying to bring more people into the space and catering to a wider array of people in the community.”
According to the Library of Congress website, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month is celebrated each year in June to pay homage to the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan.
Asha Prihar | firstname.lastname@example.org