The new Pride Network logo

Courtesy of Alex Montes

With a fresh new logo and exciting new plans for this academic year, a new executive board has taken over the Pride Network. The new e-board members hope to revive the club’s spirit with new programs, events and a fresh outlook on collaboration.

According to their webpage, the Pride Network’s mission is “to create an open and secure environment for people of all sexual orientations and genders on the University of Rochester campus and in the community at large.”

Though they’ve suffered from a lack of active members in recent years, this influx of energy looks promising.

“My main focus this year as president is to create a community where not only lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and ally [LBGTQIA] folks feel safe to express themselves as they are, but where we create a culture in which LGBTQIA is no longer considered ‘different,’” Pride Network President and sophomore Alex Montes said. “Yes, we are unique as people, but our orientation and gender is only one small part of who we are.  There is so much more to us than our sexuality.”

Pride Network plans to revamp some older traditions as well as start brand new ones this year.  They plan to keep the traditional successful events that people have come to associate with Pride Network such as their fall and spring drag shows, but also integrate more educational programming. For example, in collaboration with the Undergraduate History Council, Pride Network is   focusing on programming and awareness during October, which is Gay History Month.

“It’s important that we keep this event, [Gay History Month], alive so people can recognize how much progress our community has really made,” Montes said.

Collaboration is a focus for the executive board this year. In addition to the aforementioned project, Pride Network is co-sponsoring with the football team to bring LGTBQI ally and famed wrestler Hudson Taylor to campus. Taylor has spoken in the past about the importance of straight allies defending their LGBTQI peers from harassment within sports culture. The football team initiated this collaboration and Montes thinks it is “ground-breaking.”

“I don’t think Pride Network and the football team have ever collaborated on anything before,” Montes said. “The fact that it was the football team who initiated it is even more amazing in itself.”

This collaboration shows a progressive change in the campus community that  is spreading to organizations campus wide. This change is also being encouraged by the Student’s Association and administrators through new leadership positions and funding for collaborative events. The cosponsorship between Pride Network and the football team is a perfect example of this desired collaboration.

“We will continue to celebrate our unique identities,” Montes said. “But this will be an open space for all people regardless of gender and orientation.”

With all of these new changes and additions, Pride Network is extremely excited about this academic year — it’s going to be a good one.

Esce is a member of
the class of 2015.

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