Troy University is set to host its first ever Pride event on April 27 at 1 p.m. on the main quad, featuring food and a number of activities. The event is a joint effort by Spectrum Alliance and College Democrats to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community of Troy.
“It’s a community hangout for the LGBTQ+ community, friends and allies with free food and fun,” said Grantham Patterson, a senior political science major from Kinston and a member of the organizing team.
The event aims to provide visibility for the LGBTQ+ community and to celebrate it, while also serving as a platform to tear down the stigma.
“When the legalization of gay marriage was happening, Pike County made it so that no one in the county could get a marriage license, straight couples or gay couples,” said Julia Owens, a senior political science major from Trinity, Alabama. “Pride is something that is a necessity, and in the South it’s very hard to come by.
“In Auburn, they have a yearly Pride event, so this event in Troy is just another step into wider acceptance in the South and in the state of Alabama for members of that community.”
Activities such as a drag queen story corner, a drag show, which also features a Troy alumnus, face painting booth and talks by guest speakers have been planned to make the event family-friendly and cater to the anticipated diverse audience.
Among the guest speakers set to attend is Neil Rafferty, an openly gay legislator in the Alabama House of Representatives.
“People can expect color, and when I say color, I mean it in every aspect of the word,” Owens said. “It’s going to be a colorful array of people (and) different events, just something for everybody around.”
Kelly Jewell Glasscock, the special education program coordinator and a faculty adviser to Trojan Pride, believes the event will add to the liberal education of Troy University by providing exposure to different beliefs and entrusting students with agreeing or disagreeing with a belief on the basis of their own knowledge and interaction with the subject.
“I think the university is starting to realize the LGBTQ+ community needs to be a protected group, but then again, in Troy 1101 they really don’t talk about how to be an ally or how harassment can happen to same-sex couples,” Glasscock said. “As a public university, its job becomes to represent the variety of students that comes with a public education.”
The organizers of the event believe holding Pride in Troy will not only help the university, but it will also reflect well upon the community.
“I think this town needs this event, and it will benefit from this event,” Patterson said. “With all the division we see in society today — politically, religiously or in any other way, this event is trying to foster community building and a spirit of unity and support while lifting each other up.”
The Trojan Pride is a student-led initiative which has been supported by crowdfunding. More details about the event can be found on the Trojan Pride 2019’s Facebook page.