Florida State Celebrates Event-Packed Pride Week Hosted by PSU

From March 21-25, Florida State University students celebrated Pride Week, organized by the Pride Student Union (PSU). The week included a variety of campus events and brought together an amazing group of people who participated and saw the many activities.

The PSU was founded in 1969 after the riot at Stonewall Inn, in which members of the LGBTQ+ community rallied in response to a violent, unprovoked police raid on a New York City gay bar, sparking protests that lasted nearly a week. Today, PSU is one of seven identity-based agencies on FSU’s campus and is part of the Student Government Association. SGA helped advocate for a global budget request with PSU activity and service fees; these funds are critical to the organization’s ability to run events, including those that took place last week.

The first event took place on Monday, March 21: Pride History Night, an educational activity dedicated to sharing the vast history of the community. One of the first recognized terms for specific members of the LGBTQ+ community emerged as early as the 1700s, with new terms continually being created ever since. During the Harlem Renaissance, the LGBTQ+ community was also extremely active, as some notable figures include Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Ethel Waters, and Gladys Bentley.

The history of the Society for Human Rights, one of the first gay rights organizations, founded in 1924, was also taught at the event. Due to misconceptions and prejudice, LGBTQ+ people have been the subject of legal investigations, denied jobs, and abused throughout history. Pride marches first took place in the 1970s across the United States and progress continued for another 40 years, culminating in 2015 when same-sex marriage was finally legalized in America. Although there is still a long way to go, much of the social reform in the LGBTQ+ community has taken place over the past 60 years and has seen the necessary advancements both socially and legally.

The second event was the big debriefing. It was a big discussion between student legislation, the pandemic and its effects, and personal care and general well-being. The space allowed people to share their worries and learn some self-care tips to use in the future to improve mental health. Some topics covered were Don’t tell gay bill, how the pandemic has affected people and their mental health and therapy across the state of Florida. With this event, the PSU provided a welcoming space to share sentiments on a multitude of topics led not only by union members, but also by those attending the event.

Next is the substance abuse intervention training with LIFT. Substance abuse within the LGBTQ+ community has been a known problem for decades and PSU has sought out resources and information to help combat this problem. They shared myths about recovery and addiction as well as misconceptions about how drugs relate to the LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, there was also talk of finding ways to discuss these kinds of things with loved ones who might be struggling or developing a problem with substances. The penultimate event was Pride Game Night with a lively game of Cards Against Humanity at the start accompanied by snacks and drinks.

The final event of Pride Week was the highly anticipated Pride Prom. The ceremony provided a lively event for the community, and it also provided dozens of students with a ball where they are accepted and can shine unabashedly without restriction. Not only has the pandemic limited the number of high schools having a prom, but also in general many institutions do not allow same-sex couples to attend these events. The Pride Prom is complete with its own “Prom Royalty” to choose from and announce from 12 nominees. In the end, Ash Soto and Samantha Gomez were voted in for Prom Royalty, wrapping up what turned out to be an incredible week of education, fun, and most importantly, pride.

Joseph K. Bennett