UCF organizations to march in Come Out With Pride parade Oct. 11
As Come Out With Pride marches into its 10th year, some UCF organizations will be showing a different sort of Knight Pride as they participate in the parade Oct. 11.
The parade, which will start at 4 p.m., wraps around Lake Eola, starting at the corner of East Robinson Street and North Summerlin Avenue and finishing at the corner of North Rosalind Avenue and East Robinson Street. The organizers of this grand parade, according to the organization's website, have even enlisted the help of Disney magic-makers to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
The College Democrats at UCF have been marching in the parade for the past three years, with at least 20 of its members waving rainbow flags last year as they proceed down the parade route past Lake Eola Park.
Chelsea Daley, a senior political science major, is the president of the College Democrats and said the organization has plans to march again in this year's pride parade.
"We mean to be a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community, so that's something we feel very strongly about," Daley said. "Everyone's always really excited. It's one of our favorite things we do every year. We're definitely just really excited for the parade and to keep moving forward, especially with marriage equality. That's really important to us."
Daley said that roughly half of the organization's membership — about 20 people — attended the parade last year, and she hopes that statistic continues.
But Democrats aren't the only ones showing their support.
Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity for gay, bisexual, transgender and progressive men, will also be marching in the parade, with anywhere from eight to 10 marchers.
While many members have gone to the festival itself before, the group has never marched together under the DLP flag.
The parade coincides with DLP's Eastern Conference in Atlanta, which prevented members from participating in previous years. But this year, members chose to stick closer to home to show their support for the LGBT community.
"This year, [the members marching] said, 'You know, we need to focus in on our own community,'" said Fabian Colon, a senior advertising-public relations major and vice president of internal operations. "Our chapter has only been around for about three to four years now, so I think this will be the first time [we all say], 'Let's march together.'"
But marching is much more than just holding a flag and waving to the crowd, said Nicholas Becerra-Espinosa, a junior physics major and DLP member.
"If there are issues at stake and you have no presence, then you have no voice," he said. "The presence that you make echoes in the voice that you can project to put pressure on public issues, such as gay marriage and breaking the stereotypes. If you don't show yourself and you're not open and proud of yourself, then people won't know about you and only [know about what] they have seen."
LGBTQ+ Services will also be marching in the parade for the first time, with 15 students from both LGBTQ+ Services as well as the Multicultural Student Center participating.
As with the DLP delegation, marching isn't just about showing faces, it's about showing visibility as a community, especially as members of such a large institution such as UCF.
"It is important for UCF to be represented at the Come Out With Pride events to showcase our LGBTQ+ voices and to support the LGBTQ+ community of Orlando," said Justin Andrade, coordinator for UCF's LGBTQ+ Services, in an email. "UCF is a strong ally of our LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff, and after being named one of the top 50 LGBT-friendly universities by Campus Pride, getting involved in these events is just another way to show our commitment to providing visibility."
Although the LGBTQ+-focused registered student organization EQUAL will not be marching, Brianna Pantoja, a junior psychology major and EQUAL vice president said that members plan on attending the festivities and holding an after-pride dinner.