Photos courtesy of Kaetlyn Collins Students attend Burlington Pride Parade in support of the LGBTQ+ community which was sponsored by the Pride Center of Vermont. Members of Castleton University’s Spectrum Pride Club waved rainbow flags while in Burlington on Sept. 8 for the Pride Parade to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
The club set off for Burlington early in the morning ready to not only celebrate the community, but also to be in a space where they all feel safe and welcomed.
Olliver Young, a junior, not only had the opportunity to drive the fleet vehicle that took students to the event, but he also had the opportunity to take in all of the things offered after the parade. He mentioned the security you can feel while attending a pride event.
“It’s not always just queer stuff… people feel comfortable being their whole selves,” he said.
The event kicked off in the early afternoon with the parade on Church Street and then concluded with a gathering in Battery Park. Many organizations were located in the park offering items from LGBTQ+ pins to rapid result HIV tests. Spectrum Pride’s president, Viviane D’Amico, expanded on the helpfulness of having the anonymous rapid result HIV and STD testing at the event.
“They’ll test it and you’ll get your results back two hours later. I think that’s really cool that that’s something they offer at Burlington Pride,” they said.
Kaetlyn Collins talked about how there were drag kings and queens involved in the parade this year.
“I always look forward to seeing those performances because that’s where I first started watching drag was by going to pride,” she said.
On the other hand, some members who attended were attending their first pride event! Trevor Shatney said he was finally able to attend this year’s pride parade with his wife. For Hannah Bates, she was also attending her first pride event and felt welcomed with open arms.
“It was also my first time going out in front of a lot of people in cosplay. I met a few people who were also in cosplay and someone asked me for a picture and I was surprised it happened,” she said.
Spectrum Pride is already planning ahead for next year’s trip. With Castleton being the last school in the Vermont State College System to march in the parade, the club is looking to start gathering group members and even staff and faculty to join them next year. Even though they’re all interested in marching, D’Amico realizes that might not be easy for some people.
“A lot of people who don’t have floats still have vehicles,” D’Amico said. “What I’d like to find out is if I could use my truck.”
D’Amico said with Church Street being all uphill, she would like to use her truck for people who might not be able to walk the full distance. That way, everyone can feel included.
Castleton’s Spectrum Pride Club meets on Thursday’s during N-Period in the North House classroom. They would love to welcome some new faces to their club at any point in the year and hope to continue well representing the campus’s LGBTQ+ community.