Southwest shines at Memphis Pride Parade

By Melissa N. Reyna

On a sunny Saturday in downtown Memphis, the Southwest Pride student organization marched for the first time in the Memphis Pride Parade at Tom Lee Park Sept. 29. Southwest Pride members and friends joined more than 20,000 Memphians to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.  This year’s Pride Parade marked a 15th anniversary milestone of recognizing the impact and progress the LGBTQ+ community has made locally and historically.

The Southwest assembly included 20 students, 10 faculty and three staff members. They marched and hosted an information booth where visitors were welcomed with a “Happy Pride” greeting and heart-shaped stickers covered in rainbows.  Labels were offered to participants who wished to write down their preferred pronouns and wear throughout the day. It was a joyous occasion to celebrate together and an opportunity to introduce visitors to Southwest Pride and the programs offered at Southwest.

Dustin Williams, faculty sponsor for Southwest Pride, considered the event a success for both the college and the student organization. “What impressed me most was that we had a great turnout of Southwest students to participate in our booth and the parade,” said Williams. “Many people thanked us for being there and showing them that Southwest is a diverse and accepting place.”

Southwest Pride is a richly diverse group of students, faculty and staff formed to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community at Southwest. Southwest Pride promotes an inclusive agenda and serves as a forum for LGBT individuals to express themselves without fear of judgment. All students, faculty and staff are welcome to participate in the group's activities.

For more information about Southwest Pride and its activities for the 2018-2019 school year, contact Dustin Williams at dwilliams67@southwest.tn.edu.