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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Representatives of A&M to participate in Houston’s annual Pride Parade

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In last year’s Pride Houston, the GLBT resource center hosted an informational booth. 

This Saturday, LGBT Aggies will have the opportunity to walk in the annual Houston Pride parade while officially representing Texas A&M.

Houstonians and Texans will gather in downtown Houston to march in support of the LGBT community, whether that be sexual orientation or gender identity. Houston Pride takes place annually around the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which are widely believed to have kickstarted the gay rights movement in the US.

“As of Monday [June 12] we had over 150 plus people RSVP’d,” Katie Stober, President of Aggie Allies, said.

Chad Mandala, program coordinator for the A&M Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender, or GLBT, Resource Center, explained a variety of ways to get involved in Houston Pride this year. There will be an Intercollegiate Pride Mixer at Guava Lamp in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston on Friday, as well as a table at the Houston Pride Festival on Saturday. Aggies both past and present are also invited to walk with A&M in the Houston Pride Parade at 8:30 p.m. that night.

“The Pride Festival at Pride Houston is an event that is similar to the MSC’s Open House where there’s just a variety of tents, performances and vendors that are there just celebrating Pride,” Mandala said. “We will be tabling from 12 to 7 on Saturday to really let folks know about Texas A&M and help shift the narrative that exists around Texas A&M and remind folks that Texas A&M is a place where the LGBTQ+ community can thrive.”

Mandala said last year the GLBT Resource Center tabled at the Houston Pride Festival, and that the response was positive.

“There was an overwhelming show of support for it,” Mandala said. “I remember someone from the class of ‘72 came up and it just brought so much pride to their heart to come to a Pride festival and see more than just burnt orange representing the premier institutions in the state.”

Jeffrey Liew, past president of Aggie Allies, said that it was important to have institutional backing at Houston Pride this year, as opposed to years past when current and former students would create their own unofficial presence for the university.

“With Texas A&M being one of the main and most important universities in Texas, it is really important to have that representation,” Liew said. “Our campus has changed a lot over the years and some of our alumni had a different experience when they were here.”

The invitation sent to current and former students as well as A&M faculty and staff included support from departments throughout the university such as Provost Dr. Karan Watson, Student Body President Bobby Brooks, Dr. Christine Stanley, vice president and associate provost and many others.

Kristen Harrell, associate director of student life, believes that it is a part of the university’s mission and core values to appear at these kinds of events.

“I think it’s similar to a lot of things that we as an institution do in terms of really engaging in those town-gown relationships,” Harrell said of A&M’s participation at Houston Pride. “I think for the Resource Center and Aggie Allies it’s a show of support in the community in a broader sense and I think it also helps us send a message to our students, that we support them.” 

Stober emphasized the impact that A&M’s participation could have on the community present at Houston Pride and the Texas A&M community as a whole.

“I think that it shows not only prospective students and parents that A&M has changed and that A&M is a welcoming place for them to come to college, but it also tells current students and alumni, and gives them the space that maybe they didn’t feel like they had when they were a student here,” Stober said. 

Liew described Pride as an event symbolic of the struggles and resilience of the LGBT community.

“Pride means being able to be who you are and allow others to be who they are,” Liew said. “Just appreciate that authenticity and diversity in ourselves and others.”

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