MU
Oak Leaves

October 27, 2017

 

Manchester Hosts Pride Week Events, Celebrates Diversity 


Shelby Harrell



Manchester held its semiannual Pride Week throughout Oct. 16-21, with activities dedicated to the representation, education and celebration of the LGBTQ community.

The event is hosted by United Sexualities and Genders, a student-led organization comprised of the university’s LGBTQ community members as well as their allies and friends. “Our goal is to represent the diverse gender identities and sexual orientations within the Manchester family,” said co-facilitator Emma Hyndman. “We hope to make marginalized students feel safer and more comfortable calling MU their home.”

The club’s e-board members, the primary activity planners for the organization, develop topics designated for each individual day that highlight the various identities that are on the LGBTQ spectrum. “We are celebrating our diversity,” said Hyndman. “Pride Week is a special time to share love, joy, and understanding among all kinds of people.”

As co-facilitator, Hyndman feels that the event provides the perfect atmosphere in which to promote overall awareness and tolerance of the LGBTQ community through proper education. As a member of the community, however, she eagerly anticipates Pride Week on a more personal level. “Pride Week is a time when I feel unashamedly myself as a queer-identifying student,” Hyndman reflects. “I discovered a lot about myself during my first Pride Week at Manchester last year.”

United Sexualities and Genders functions as a safe place for students to meet once a week and talk about personal or international issues that they feel impact the lives of people involved with the LGBTQ community. “We hope to be a safe and comfortable social setting for marginalized students,” Hyndman said, “in addition, we facilitate other programming directed towards education campus wide.”

In terms of attendance, Hyndman reports that Pride Week has had what could be considered a highly successful year. In addition, the club in general has seen an increase in attendance at their annual weekly meetings.

This year also marks the addition of a panel collaboration with the university’s offices of Career and Professional Development. “We brought alumni in to talk about their experience with being out or coming out at work,” Hyndman said in reference to an issue that effects every individual member of the LGBTQ community at one point in their lives. “These alumni have a lot of knowledge and experience to share with current students, faculty, and staff,” said Hyndman.

In hopes of increasing the number of individuals in attendance, United Sexualities and Genders plans on establishing the panel as part of Pride Week’s annual events in the coming years.