Manchester University
Oak Leaves

October 7, 2016

Rainbow Flag

Manchester Celebrates Pride Week

Kelleen Cullison

A rainbow flag, draped across the brick exterior of Cordier Auditorium for all of campus to see, signified the start of Manchester University’s LGBTQ Pride Week, organized by the United Sexualities club.  

Each day of the week corresponded with a color in the order they are represented on the LGBTQ flag, and students were encouraged to show their support by wearing the color of each day. 

The week began on a solemn note on Monday, the Day of Silence. Those who chose to participate remained silent for 12 hours starting early in the morning, in honor of those no longer alive as a result of bullying, discrimination, hate and suicide. Others chose to stand in solidarity by simply wearing the color red. 
Later that night, those who kept quiet during the day let their voices loose, banging on drums and raising their voices outside the chapel during the Night of Noise. “Night of Noise it to celebrate that ‘we’re’ still here, and still have a voice,” said Jamie Dowdy, president of United Sexualities. 

On Tuesday, participants celebrated transgender identity. The United Sexualities (US) club encouraged students to wear orange, and offered nail painting and finger mustaches in the Jo Young Switzer Center, where many of the week’s activities were based. 
Ally Day was Wednesday, celebrating the unity and support between the straight and LGBTQ communities by wearing the color yellow and signing a poster of the ally flag. 
On Thursday, All Love Day, students were encouraged to wear green, and the US club handed out free candy and condoms. The campus’s Coming Out Vigil was held that night in the chapel at 7 p.m. in a quiet, personal ceremony. 

Friday was known as Gay and Lesbian Day, a day where students sported the color blue and rainbow stickers were provided in the JYSC. 

Rounding off the week was Saturday night’s Gay Prom. The pajama themed dance was held in the Science Center from 9 p.m. to midnight, and provided guests with food, drinks, and photo opportunities. Represented by the color purple, Gay Prom signified a fun and carefree end to the campus’s 2016 Pride Week. 

Institutions across the country hold their Pride Week at different times throughout the year, but their roots stem from Pride Month, recognized globally in June in honor of the Stonewall riots. The police invasion of the Stonewall Inn led to demonstrations that were vital in forming several influential LGBTQ civil rights organizations, such as the Gay Liberation Front. 

The Manchester Pride Week is put on and sponsored each year by the United Sexualities club. They meet every Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. in the Student Activities Center and plan a variety of inclusive campus activities such as gay prom and a trip to MBLGTACC2016, a yearly three-day conference for bisexual, lesbian, gay, transgender, asexual and ally college students, this year hosted in Chicago. The club’s doors are open to everyone, with the goal of providing support and a safe place for all members of the community of all sexualities.