An explosion of love and rainbows made its way up Alden Street on April 19, 2021. Springfield College hosted its first ever Pride Parade, the kickoff event to the weeklong “RainbowFest” planned by the Student Gender and Sexuality Alliance, the Y Club and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
The parade began at President Mary-Beth Cooper’s house. Students dressed in multicolored clothing crowded her front gates holding hand painted banners and various flags representing their sexualities. Each person present at the parade was given a rainbow striped mask to wear during the march.
President Cooper then led the crowd up Alden Street, past Gulick Hall and beyond the Learning Commons. Students donning pride flags as capes blasted music in support of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, including Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and Lil Nas X’s “Montero.”
They shouted, “We are here, we are queer, and we have no fear!”
The massive group then circled around to the sidewalk by Cheney Dining Hall, and gathered at the newly-created stage on Naismith Beach. There, leaders of the aforementioned organizations who helped plan the parade gave short speeches and an overall warm welcome to RainbowFest 2021.
GSA secretary Kayden DeFriesse was extremely excited for the parade. He stated, “It’s nice to be able to showcase who I am. I know for me and for a lot of people, growing up in the heteronormative world, you look at the media and you see straight couples and straight people. You don’t really see two men, two women, transgender, or non-binary [people]; not until very recently, that wasn’t shown in the media.
“So, a lot of our identity was never shown: people used to think we’re weird, we’re different. People are still attacked to this day just for loving people, so to me, it’s finally being able to be who I am. I’m not going to hide the fact that I’m trans, that I’m asexual, I want to showcase it. This is going to help spread the love to anyone who might need it,” he said.
RainbowFest will continue this week with multiple different events and activities to help the Springfield College community celebrate love and equality, no matter a person’s gender or sexuality. GSA hopes that people who identify as straight outside will attend to better educate themselves on how to open their hearts as allies to the LGBTQIA2S+ community.
Photos Courtesy of Danielle Schmelling.