The LGBT community has been celebrating its pride in cities across the country, and this week, UCF is showing its own pride by marching in the 11th annual Orlando Pride Parade.
Orlando’s Come Out With Pride celebration is a weeklong event that started Monday, including parties, parades and fireworks.
The parade, which is presented by Macy’s, will be held Saturday at 4 p.m. at Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando.
This will mark the second year that UCF students have marched in the parade. More than 35 students have already signed up.
Some students will also be volunteering in the morning at a 5K run sponsored by the Zebra Coalition, a network of organizations that helps LGBT youth who are facing problems such as homelessness, bullying and abuse.
Students said last year’s experience was incredible.
“Last year, we yelled the UCF chant a lot,” said Michael Nunes, a senior psychology and criminal justice major. “It’s really cool. Because the Pride parade is centered in Orlando, we’re kind of the home team. It’s our school, and everyone in Orlando kind of feels this kinship to it.”
Other students said it is the sense of community that really makes the event special.
“I’ve never been around that many LGBTQ people, so it’s really exciting,” said Emily Kutik, a junior information technology major. “It’s fantastic and it’s a lot of fun. Come join us.”
This is also the first Pride event since the Supreme Court’s ruling, which legalized same-sex marriage across the country this summer.
Nunes said that Pride celebrations like these definitely played a part in the decision.
“When people go out to Pride, they feel this sense of community … and more and more people are going to it and seeing it as a normal thing,” he said. “It’s people seeing that and accepting that these are just different people. It’s not this bad stereotype, it’s just people. Just like them.”
However, he cautioned that just because the LGBT community received one victory, it doesn’t mean that these celebrations can stop. There are still a lot of obstacles in the way of total equality.
“With the recent rulings, things have changed, but there’s still a long way to go for the queer-rights movement,” Nunes said. “There are still a lot of things we need to accomplish. Just because one law passed doesn’t mean everything’s done.”
Students who wish to march in the parade or volunteer in this year’s celebration can still sign up by going to the UCF Pride Commons’ Facebook page.
Deanna Ferrante is a Senior Staff Writer and Watchdog Reporter for the Central Florida Future.