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Students attend Pride Parade in Birmingham

Noelle Brake

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On Saturday evening, the 24th annual Pride Parade filled Birmingham’s Southside area with color, people, and pride. With over 60 groups from Alabama participating in the walk across downtown Birmingham, bystanders were able to see the variety of student representation at the parade.

One of the prominent groups was Student Groups of Alabama, with included members from University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Gay-Straight Student Alliance, Spectrum groups from the University of Alabama and University of Montevallo, and the UA’s Capstone Alliance.

Walking among the student groups was Noah Cannon, a UA sophomore majoring in telecommunications and film.

“I had a fantastic night at Pride,” Cannon said. “It’s wonderful to be reminded of how widespread, supportive, and enthusiastic the LGBTQA+ community is in Alabama.”

He said he thought more students should come out to support the community.

“Students are an integral part of the LGBTQA+ community, both at the K-12 and college level,” he said. “It’s paramount that we represent ourselves and our schools at Pride.”

Pride Parades are held as events celebrating gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender cultures and are typically held in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots, an important moment in the LGBTQA+ rights movement.

Students from the University were not the only participants in the parade. Meredith Bagley, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies, a member of UA’s SafeZone Committee and one of the faculty advisors of Spectrum, walked with the students as president of the Capstone Alliance.

As someone who has recently moved to Alabama, Bagley said she was proud to be a part of this event.

“I had a great time marching with the student groups and showing the crowd that UA has LGBTQ+ faculty and staff who are out, proud and supportive of our students,” Bagley said. “Getting a few Alabama fans in the crowd didn’t hurt either. It was awesome to get some ‘Roll Tide Rolls’ from the crowd.”

Bagley said she thought students have so much they can learn about the community, and events like Pride Parade are helpful in that respect.

“There is so much to learn, even for someone my age, who has been to nearly 15 Pride parades,” Bagley said. “I am always moved by the PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Moms giving out hugs, by the number of churches that march — that is a message we hear far too rarely down here — to the range of activities, groups, hobbies and causes that our community is invested in.”

Monica Day, a sophomore majoring in music education, said she enjoyed being able to watch the parade.

“The parade was a wonderful experience,” she said. “I think the best part was the utter joy and community you could feel for everyone. I think people who don’t really understand the [LGBTQA+] community could really benefit from seeing the Pride Parade or just going to any Pride event in general. You can really see how gays are just people. Fabulous, fun-loving people.”

Pride events are held in cities across the nation, ranging from San Francisco to Birmingham to New York City. The events are held to offer people a time together to celebrate diversity, fun and acceptance. For more information, visit www.centralalabamapride.org.

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Students attend Pride Parade in Birmingham