Pride Week, that once-a-year exciting week for any queer. The week where you can break out that rainbow onesie, that witty lesbian t-shirt or the full rainbow flag cape; it is the week where drag queens and drag kings fabulously wander around the streets. Everyone should be excited about Pride week right? Well that can be a rather complicated question, when your Pride week happens on a Jesuit campus.
Going to a Jesuit University is not easy for anyone who is a part of the LGBTQA+ community. Sometimes your day consists of battling stares, questions and public restrooms, so just imagine the reaction of the week of pure Pride and demonstrating the wonderful aspects of gayness. Even though we have worked tirelessly attempting to make Pride week the best show of queer culture, all of us will admit to being worried about the reaction.
On a Jesuit, catholic campus, I always worry about other’s reactions to just my daily appearance. Is my Pride shirt too much? Are my shorts too long? Are my clothes too baggy? Is my hair too short? Does my tie look too masculine? Just like any other member of the LGBTQA+ I am very excited for Pride week, but I will admit I am very nervous for the reactions that will come from it. I fear that after a huge event like a Drag Show, that I will face micro-aggressions or even hateful comments. I fear that I will be marked as an outcast and be ostracized from the student body. If I battle looks and questions everyday, what will I receive once I am seen with a LGBTQA+ spoken word poet? The constant fear runs through my head as every Pride event comes together and the word is spread.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I love Gonzaga and being on this campus. However, Pride is supposed to be a time of happiness and excitement, but my heart races for all of the wrong reasons. Reasons like hateful comments being spewed at guest speakers or performers. I fear being branded that crazy lesbian, who wore a tie to every event. I fear that many of my peers won’t look at me differently. I fear I will lose friends as they see me entering or exiting the events. I fear wearing a Pride shirt, because I already receive so many stares and muttered comments. Shouldn’t this week be filled with Pride and not fear?
Being different seems to be so foreign and hated that if anyone acts or dresses a little bit outside of the norm, they will be branded or ostracized. I have never understood why. Is it necessary to act differently because a girl wants to wear a tie and a boy wants to wear a dress, we all express ourselves in different ways. Isn’t it time for us to be accepting and loving one another, the world is tough enough as it is, lets make it easier by being friends and not enemies. Isn’t time to stop hating someone for who they love and share in the joy and love of loving someone to the point where you fear life without them? I think its time to embrace Pride week, and forget about old-fashioned social norms, because you never know when one norm will be thrown away and a new one will begin to control society.