This year, the beginning of June marked two important beginnings for me: the start of Pride Month and the start of my work in a new position on campus.
Many cities across the United States celebrate LGBTQIA2+ Pride in June with parades, festivals, and other events to honor the struggles, successes, revolutionary risks, and daily lives of LGBTQIA2+ individuals and communities. For many people, myself included, Pride events are occasions to celebrate love and identity, authenticity, community and political progress. But they are also opportunities to connect with each other, to organise, to advocate and to creatively and collaboratively imagine together new, more inclusive, equitable and accessible futures.
The very first Pride festival I attended was at Dolores Park in San Francisco in 2008, about a year after I came out. I remember feeling overwhelmed with experiences of community, acceptance and so on, so many rainbows, but mostly, with this strong, tangible sense of hope that filled the air. I have been a regular Pride participant ever since and look forward to Pride Month for many reasons, but most importantly for that sense of hope.
June 1 of this year is also when I officially started working in a new position on campus, as a Program Development Specialist in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Prior to this role, I worked as an assistant teaching professor in the Department of English and served as one of the co-chairs of UNR’s Queer & LGBT+ Advocacy Board (QLAB). Through my work with QLAB, I have been able to lead and co-lead many Safe Zone (LGBTQIA2+ Ally) training workshops for different groups on campus. Leading these trainings often gives me a hope similar to the one I felt at the Pride festivities: a feeling that it is truly possible for life to be safer, kinder and more inclusive and an invigorating awareness that ‘there are other people who want to work towards this reality just as badly as I do. I look forward to continuing my work with these trainings in a more formal capacity in my new role, as we incorporate Safe Zone and other training workshops into the offerings provided by the Diversity and Inclusion Office.
In fact, the similarities between Pride and my new position go far beyond a shared start date. Both involve advocacy, collaboration, authentic expression, confronting difficult realities, imagining a new and better future, and daring to hope that we can actually create that future, even when we have feeling that we have little or no energy left for hope. So, as a new DEI Program Development Specialist, I would like to invite you to celebrate all of your identities with us at Northern Nevada Pride this year, come and chat with us at our table during the festival, and perhaps have a little hope with us.
While June has been officially designated as Pride Month, the Northern Nevada Pride Parade and Festival is held annually in July. This year, they will take place on Saturday, July 23. The parade is scheduled to take off at 10 a.m. from Fifth and Virginia St, and the festival is scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Wingfield Park.
Many UNR organizations and groups have sponsored and/or participated in Northern Nevada Pride in the past, and many plan to do so again this year, including (but not limited to) ASUN, the Orvis School of Nursing, the School of Medicine, the Latino Research Center, the Graduate Student Association, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. If you are part of a group on campus that would like to sponsor, march and/or participate in Northern Nevada Pride, please contact us! Alternatively, if you would like to connect with a group that is already up and running, the Diversity & Inclusion Office would be delighted to help you connect or have you celebrate with us!
To contact Angela about Northern Nevada Pride or about DEI’s ideas, goals, or hopes, please email [email protected]