Pride Week educates community on LGBT issues

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The LGBT community is present every day, but Pride Week is a chance to unify this community with other students. 

Allies and members of the LGBT community hosted Pride Week on campus this week to educate the larger student body on issues relating to the LGBT community.

“I think a big component has been education: helping people become more aware of differing LGBT identities, what it means, what different things are to different people and how that’s negotiated in the community,” Qyle Jerro, vice director of the Queer Students Alliance, said.

Jerro said there are around 20 different queer organizations on campus, and Pride Week is a time to unify them as one.

“A huge component of UT Austin Pride Week is to promote visibility of the queer community on campus with the hopes of it promoting education and inclusion to all students at this university,” Kennon Kasischke, director of the Queer Students Alliance, said. 

Pride Week has been a tradition at UT since 2006 when Student Government incorporated the Queer Student Alliance in its organization.

The week began in Gregory Plaza with a kick-off celebration including both LGBT-affiliated organizations and groups such as University Democrats and Voices Against Violence.

Jerro said Ally Training on Tuesday taught non-LGBT students terminology and how to be respectful and supportive of people’s different identities. 

Ally Day, sponsored by the Diversity and Equity Student Action and Advisory Council on Wednesday, was for organizations to table and demonstrate the meaning of being an ally for students.

The Diversity and Equity Student Advisory and Action Council provides responses to student concerns about social justice on campus. Samantha Robles, the organizer of the event, said she hopes Pride Week teaches students more about the organization and opens up the campus, allowing students to discuss things other communities do not often talk about, such as bisexuality and trans-identities.

“I think [this week shows] all of the present identities one person can embody,” Robles said. “You can be proud of any of those identities.”