You can’t rain on our Pride Parade. How Georgia State celebrates Atlanta Pride

Panelists Taylor McCavanagh, Sarah Elizabeth Meng, Joshua De Luna and Vartsana Chanthraboutda speak to students at the University Housing Pride Committee event Queer Convos. Photo by Zach Butler | The Signal

Rain poured and streets closed down on Oct. 13, as people gathered in Midtown for the 49th annual Atlanta Pride parade. Rather than the event being held in June for National LGBTQIQA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Questioning, Asexual) Pride Month, Atlanta hosts the parade in October to coincide with National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11.

The Establishment for Queer Unity, Inclusion and Peace (EQUIP) is an organization that has existed on campus but was just recently chartered as a student organization. It is responsible for planning and representing Georgia State in the Pride Parade each year.

“Our main initiative has been simply planning the parade by working with Atlanta Pride and trying to get the word out to students through flyers and attending queer events on campus,” Savannah Setter, the president of EQUIP, said. 

As they transition into being a chartered organization, EQUIP is devising programs to encourage more queer activism and represenation throught campus. These programs include “open houses” to hear the needs of queer students advocating for more gender-inclusive bathrooms on campus and working with the Counseling and Testing Center to provide support for queer students. 

Currently, EQUIP is not available on the Panther Involvement Network, but students interested should check back because they plan to be fully available by spring semester.

Leading up to Pride, Georgia State’s University Housing Pride Committee, established in 2018, organized a week full of events around campus to get students excited. From immersive art experiences to TRANS-formative cinema to Pride Prom and Queer Convos, there were several opportunities for students to get involved. 

“I can see the direct impact that Pride has on our students,” Kiersten Brydie, co-chair of the Pride Committee, said. “This week is a time for students to celebrate, explore and learn more about gender and sexual identity, as well as a time for queer people to form community and find love. It has been really beautiful to experience.”

The second annual Pride Prom was the most popular event of the week on campus. The night was filled with food and dancing and served as a way for members of the LGBTQIQA+ community to share their identities, love and expressions. 

The Pride Committee hopes to create more programming focusing on identity development throughout the residence halls. But, right now, their primary focus goes toward the events leading up to Atlanta Pride.

“I truly believe that representation is vital,” Brydie said. “When we see ourselves and folks who share similar identities reflected in music, film, politics and education, we can begin to imagine ourselves there. It creates a possibility that becomes a reality. We can begin to say, ‘My thoughts, my voice and my experiences matter.’”

“Georgia State is so diverse, and there are many places to find community on campus,” Brydie continued. “Being based in the heart of Atlanta only adds to the many experiences LGBTQIQA+ students can engage in throughout the city.”