“One, two, three, four, open up the closet door! Five, six, seven, eight, don’t assume your kids are straight!” chanted paraders as they held up colorful posters decorated with punny phrases. Marching from Paresky Commons and trooping all around campus, students and faculty participating in the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (G.S.A.) parade supported and raised awareness of the LGBTQIA+ community last Saturday afternoon.
“I went to a pride parade in Boston, and then that was really really important for me because I was surrounded by all these people who not only were there and were okay with being LGBTQ+, but also who looked free and happy,” said Indy Sobol ’17, Co-Head of G.S.A.
“I’ve just never seen people like that before, and so having something similar at Andover is also really important because it just reestablishes that not only is this an identity that’s okay to have, but it’s also something that you shouldn’t have to hide and that you could be actively proud of,” Sobol continued.
The parade marked the beginning of G.S.A. Weekend. For many, this event was especially important in light of many recent tragedies involving the LGBTQIA+ community.
“This year especially, after everything that happened over the summer like [the Orlando shooting], I think it’s really important for us to reclaim our space on campus because I think that despite the progress we’ve made recently, it also feels like LGBTQIA+ spaces are increasingly under attack,” said Sobol. “Andover is an incredibly welcoming space, but this is also kind of an event where we can solidify that and make that known.”
The parade was held to raise awareness for the LGBTQIA+ community on campus and to recognize its continuing fight for human rights.
“I think it’s really important to make it heard that G.S.A. and queer voices on campus aren’t just silent. We’re not just sitting in our rooms, thinking about our lives. We’re public, and we want everyone to know that we’re here, and that we are ready to take on the challenge of gay rights, but also of making everybody comfortable here,” said Daniel Ulanovsky ’18, a board member of G.S.A.
Despite the absence of the Drumline, which usually accompanies the march, participants paraded with overflowing energy and powerful chants.
“I think that this year was truly the most proud year when we did a lot more chanting and we did a lot more thinking on our feet, but also just the energy was palpable, and when the Drumline’s going, you can just hide behind the sound of the drum, but [this year] the enthusiasm was just so real,” said Karissa Kang ’17, Co-Head of G.S.A.