PRIDE week focuses on inclusion for all

Marissa Montoya

Many cities all over the world now celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identities and issues with PRIDE week festivities that include parades, workshops, film festivals and other activities.

PRIDE parades began in June of 1970 in New York as a way to commemorate the Stonewall riots of the previous year when police raided a gay bar- Stonewall Inn- causing members of the LGBT community to riot for a week.

While PRIDE weeks are typically celebrated in June to pay homage to the Stonewall riots, members of the Sacramento State community celebrate PRIDE week April 13-25 since classes are not in session in June.

Indiana Womack, a junior majoring in psychology with a minor in biology is a student assistant in the Women’s Resource Center and a member of the CSUS Rainbow Alliance, described PRIDE as a time to celebrate the diversity and variety of people who share the earth.

“It is an opportunity to shake off the shame and secrecy that used to be attached to the LGBT community,” Womack said. “For people who aren’t queer, trans or another part of the LGBT community, PRIDE week is an opportunity to get to know us and our cultures. It’s a great way to learn about other people.”

Donovan McKinley, a junior majoring in family studies and a student assistant in the PRIDE Center, agreed that while PRIDE week is meant to celebrate how far the LGBT community has come, there are still many issues affecting the LGBT community that aren’t being discussed enough; such as homelessness, job discrimination and violence against the LGBT community.

“Barriers, I personally have had to overcome, are having to debunk stereotypes placed upon us by a hetero-normative society,” McKinley said. “I feel like I have to show that being a gay male is just one part of my whole identity, it doesn’t define me.”

Chris Kent, a graduate student studying history and the program coordinator for the PRIDE Center and Women’s Resource Center, agreed that the taboo around the behaviors of LGBT people transfers into speculation of the sexual activities of LGBT people.

Kent also acknowledged the violence that exists against the LGBT community.

“I’ve almost been the victim of violence by a group of guys who wanted to beat me up because of my identity years ago at a party. That was such a close call for me,” recalled Kent. “But I also recognize that my experiences are a lot different from other folks. I’ve had a lot of privilege in my experiences being white, middle class, cisgender and masculine-presenting. I think it is important to realize that.”

Discussions about these types of violence issues, and much more, will be held at PRIDE week events such as the week-opening discussion “Diversity of Queerness,” which was held Monday, April 13 from 12-2 p.m.

McKinley explained that he is most excited about the “#QueerHornets: I Celebrate Myself” campaign because the Rainbow Alliance- formerly Queer-Straight Alliance- is involved once again after taking a break for one semester.

Kent is eager for the “Radical Craftivism” stencil-making workshop on Friday, April 17 and the showing of the film “Intersexion,” which focuses on people who are intersex, which aired on Tuesday, April 14.

While there are popular awareness events such as the “Out of the Darkness Walk,” a suicide prevention fundraiser on Thursday, April 16, and “Day of Silence Picnic on the Quad” on Friday, April 17. Other events include a bingo night hosted by drag queens, screening of the film “Rent” and a discussion about same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court.

Womack is very enthusiastic about the event “SEX-ABLE: Queer Women’s Safer Sex Workshop,” which he is leading with the help of Dr. Patty Woodward- known for her “Where’s My Orgasm?” talk on Thursday, April 16.

More information about PRIDE week events can be found on the PRIDE center website at or visit the Sacramento State PRIDE center Facebook page.

Updated April 17, 2015 at 5:40 a.m. to reflect the proper pronoun for Indiana Womack.