LGBTQ+ student groups celebrate Pride Month

Thursday, June 6, 2024 - 08:22
Ty’Rianna Simpson poses with GLAD 2024 officers after then-president David Munoz-Sarabia earned the Golden Eagle Award
Ty’Rianna Simpson poses with GLAD 2024 officers after then-president David Munoz-Sarabia earned the Golden Eagle Award

DENTON (UNT), Texas — As Pride Month continues, the University of North Texas and its LGBTQ+ student organizations reflect on their recent events, future plans and what the historic month means to them.

June was designated as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month by President Bill Clinton in 2000. In 2009, President Barack Obama updated it to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride. The history traces back to the Stonewall Riots in June 1969, when the New York Police Department raided the Stonewall Inn, sparking a six-day protest and catalyzing the gay rights movement. The following year, on June 28, 1970, activists marched through Manhattan, marking the first LGBTQ+ Pride Parade. Today, similar parades and festivals commemorate these events.

At UNT, various student organizations provide support for LGBTQ+ communities, including The Space, which is dedicated to trans and nonbinary students.

“We are a collective of queer students who aim to establish community with anyone along the spectrum of transition,” said former social media manager for the organization who goes by both Lilly and Link Holley. “The Space allows for students to bond over their similar stories.”

The Space has prioritized fostering closer ties among its members through activities like board game and video game nights. These gatherings offer a safe space for students who may have previously hesitated to share their gender experiences, allowing them to connect with peers who can relate.

Another group doing significant work is the A Team. The “A” encompasses several identities under the LGBTQ+ umbrella including asexual, aromantic and agender. According to Rylie Rodriguez, the organization’s president, “the goal is to raise awareness about these identities, which are often overlooked in broader LGBTQ+ discussions.” They hope to extend their reach to more UNT students in the upcoming fall semester with the introduction of a Queer Café.

Some organizations unite different identities and demographics. LUNA, known as Latines Unidos en Amor, is a prime example.

“LUNA supports LGBTQ+ Latine individuals,” said Karen G. Sanchez, UNT junior and president of the student organization. "Social circles like this play a crucial role in helping individuals embrace all parts of themselves, as many experience harsher judgement for the LGBTQ+ identity within the Latine community," Sanchez said.

LUNA vice-president, Itzel Hernandez, said that while the organization is still new, “we can’t wait for what the future holds for us and what events we will plan.”

GLAD: Queer Alliance, known as GLAD for short, is an all-encompassing LGBTQ+ student organization at UNT. In the spring, GLAD hosted a drag show, where both new and experienced student performers could demonstrate their skills.

“Starting out in drag can pose challenges for newcomers, and we embrace individuals at every stage of their journey,” said Ty’Rianna Simpson, UNT sophomore and president of the student organization. “We strive to make space for students of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions to feel safe and welcome.”

All of the organizations agree that the essence of these activities is community. LGBTQ+ celebrations, whether small events like game nights or large-scale observances such as Pride Month, provide spaces for queer individuals to embrace their identities and strengthen their connections with others.

“Pride is a moment for all of us to unite and stand proud,” Simpson said.

UNT News Service
(940) 565-2108