Tech community celebrates OUT week

Photo by Casey Gomez

Over the course of the past week, the students of the Institute held their annual celebration of OUT Week, a series of LGBTQIA+ focused activities and events that coincided with National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11.

The Pride Alliance hosted an array of gatherings for members and allies alike of the LGBTQIA+ community.

On Friday, Oct. 12, students walking past the Campanile were drawn to Pride Fest given its upbeat music and colorful decorations. At the festival, “Y’all Means All” t-shirts were handed out, and attendees had popsicles beneath the fittingly rainbow-colored King of Pops umbrella.

Organizations such as the LGBTQIA Resource Center, Women’s Resource Center and the Asian American Student Association showed their dedication to serving students in their daily lives by offering information about their own resources to attendees as well.

Throughout the week, the Pride Alliance showed its love and acceptance of all students. Member Ollie Shinn noted this effect on students’ daily lives on campus, especially for those in their first year at the Institute.

“Coming to Tech and not having that [LGBTQIA+] kind of connection with people was really difficult,” Shinn said. “I went to the Pride Alliance meetings and it was so comforting to see that the kinds of people I was used to being around — the kinds of people who I can relate to — are still here. They’re still visible.”

Over the weekend, the Pride Alliance continued its celebration by marching in the city-wide Atlanta Pride Parade on Oct. 14.

Parading students were greeted warmly by onlookers as they saw the two Tech flags that signaled the arrival of the Institute’s Pride Alliance. Cheers were then augmented as the crowd saw the students’ sexuality and gender identity-specific flags and morale was further increased as the fight song was sung with a special touch of pride.

The classic “helluva engineer” lyric was switched to “helluva flaming queer,” and the crowd’s cheers of support marked great appreciation. Meanwhile, none other than the Tech Trolley — complete with its own bounty of pride decorations — faithfully followed students down the parade route.

“It’s important to focus on the issues and things that [the LGBTQIA+ community has] to deal with, but also, it’s a matter of celebration,” said Pride Alliance President Genny Kennedy. “That’s why we’re called Pride Alliance — to have pride in our identity.”

After a rest day on Monday and an activism-themed lecture on Tuesday, Queer Campfire Stories was held on Oct. 17. Members, allies and supporters of the LGBTQIA+ community met to share their coming out stories and experiences at Under the Couch.

The Big Gay Brunch concluded OUT Week on Oct. 18, and LGBTQIA+ faculty and allies served students in order to establish familiarity and recognition across campus. Students were able to meet allies and dine with other students of similar experiences and backgrounds.

The progressed as many felt a distinct motivation to show that the Pride Alliance and the Institute’s LGBTQIA+ community are continuing to pour their hearts into demonstrating acceptance for all.

In relation to last year’s controversial events and shattering loss of Pride Alliance leader Scout Schultz, Kennedy said “we’re in the midst of recovering, and everything that we’re doing right now is to show what it means to be part of the community in a positive sense.”

Though OUT Week has now concluded, the LGBTQIA Resource Center still holds biweekly Q Chats, which are student-led discussion groups. LGBTQIA students interested in getting involved are welcome to attend.

The Pride Alliance continues to reach out to all students despite any difference in race, sexual orientation or gender identity; everyone is encouraged and welcomed to participate in its recognition of all.