On Thursday, November 26th, students and staff gathered in the rainbow-clad gym for SMUS’ first ever Pride Day. Catchy tunes could be heard from DJ Legit’s masterful remixing abilities, varicoloured balloons filled the air, and there was present an almost tangible spirit. Students supported the building of the South Island Community Pride Centre by purchasing t-shirts (designed by recent SMUS grad Shun Kinoshita), mocktails, popcorn, and baked goods.
A highlight of the event was a debut performance by the school’s newly-formed hip hop crew the 2ne Ups. The intricately choreographed moves left the audience awestruck; the 2ne Ups’ performance brought fourth even more pride from the student and staff body. In addition, on display were the new collection of Pride Alliance resources, allowing the attendees to browse books and pamphlets on gender and sexual diversity. Moreover, at another table, a few students had crafted a banner on which students and staff could sign their names and handprints to show their support for the Pride Alliance and the diversity of our community.
The idea for Pride Day arose last year, when the Pride Alliance group decided that we wanted to raise more awareness in the school of LGBT issues. The group spent the entire term planning for this day, and managed to raise quite a lot of funds to assist the Pride Community Center in Victoria, especially with its youth programmes. The day before Pride Day, the Pride Alliance also organized a chapel presentation. Three speakers from the local pride centre were brought in, and they delivered extremely articulate and meaningful recounts of their own experiences of “coming out” as a gay, lesbian, or transgendered individual. This presentation left a very powerful message of acceptance and inclusion to resound within the school community.
SMUS has come so far in the past few years in terms of the awareness of gender and sexual diversity. Two years ago, the Pride Alliance did not exist. The founding group agreed (and the group still does) that the existence of the Pride Alliance at SMUS was long overdue. SMUS has gone from having no pride group at all to having an entire day focused on celebrating the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity. From this diversity, we believe that our school is able to reach a place of mutual understanding and acceptance. The Pride Alliance group truly believes that educating and promoting awareness of acceptance and understanding is how we will continue to create a safe and inclusive environment in our community for all.
The Pride Alliance would like to extend an immense thank you to everyone who helped make this day so successful. From allowing us precious gym space, to baking cookies, to running to Hillside mall for giant-sized balloons, many people were involved in organizing this special day.
This article will also appear in the December issue of The Ivy.