5 students stand in front of a rainbow backdrop holding rainbow accessories at Pride Prom 2018.

Story by Awa Badiane ’21

To honor the 1969 Stonewall uprising, the month of June is now designated as Pride Month, a chance to acknowledge and celebrate the impact lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals have had on history.

As we celebrate the efforts made by queer individuals on a global scale, we want to recognize the steps toward inclusion and awareness made by Lawrence students, faculty and staff right here on campus. Here are eight ways we show our Pride all year long.

1. Colores 

Colores is a student organization that was originally created to be a space for empowerment for LGBTQIA+ students of color. It has since expanded to incorporate any LGBTQIA+ students on campus and to help educate the wider community on LGBTQIA+ intersectionality. Colores hosts weekly meetings and special events throughout the academic year. Find out how to get involved with Colores here.

2. Pride Prom 

As a way to celebrate our differences and to educate the wider campus on queer history, the student group Colores hosts an annual Pride Prom. Along with the music and food you might find at a traditional high school prom, Pride Prom includes information about queer history and rainbow decor. Organizers feature images, films, articles, and more on queer history throughout the venue. Most importantly, Pride Prom is a chance for members of the LGBTQIA+ community to gather, have fun, celebrate their identities, and feel connected on campus. Pride Prom is open to the entire campus, as well as the Appleton community, and serves as a great opportunity to learn about queer history and to boogie down.

3. LGBTQIA+ Alliance House 

Starting this fall, Lawrence University will have a LGBTQIA+ Alliance house. This house will act as a safe space for queer individuals and allies. As a house, they plan to do lots of community outreach, including a clothing exchange, throughout the Lawrence and Appleton communities to spread awareness and acceptance for queer identities.

Three students posing for a photo wearing graduation caps and gowns. One student is wearing a lavender stole.
Participating queer-identifying students are presented with Pride stoles at the Lavender Ceremony before Commencement.

4. Lavender Ceremony 

To say goodbye and congratulate graduating seniors, Student Life and the Diversity and Intercultural Center co-host an annual Lavender Ceremony. This is a celebration for queer-identifying students as they prepare to graduate from Lawrence. There are speeches on behalf of the seniors and a dinner for the seniors and their guests. The students being honored also are presented with a lavender stole to wear at Commencement.

5. Pride Alumni Network 

There is a newly formed alumni group coming to Lawrence, the Lawrence University Pride Alumni Network. A reception was held during Reunion Weekend to get the conversation started. Look for more details to be released in late summer or early fall.

6. Pride Resource Group

The Faculty/Staff Pride Resource Group is a network for Lawrence faculty and staff who identify as LGBTQIA+ or have family who identify as such. This group offers a sense of community for the faculty and provides an avenue for updates on available resources. Learn how to get involved with the Pride Resource Group here.

7. Queer Thanksgiving

Before we all head home for winter break, the Diversity and Intercultural Center hosts an annual potluck, called Queer Thanksgiving. The annual event is held in the Diversity and Intercultural Center and is open to the Appleton community. It is a way for queer individuals to come together and celebrate over some delicious food.

8. Gender-inclusive bathrooms

Lawrence is expanding the number of gender-neutral restrooms available on campus over the next academic year, after more than 80% of Lawrence students expressed interest in gender-neutral restrooms on a recent LUCC survey. The expansion will increase the number of gender-neutral facilities available to community members, including those who identify as transgender, transgender non-binary, and non-binary.

Awa Badiane ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.