PRIDE holds first meeting to discuss coming events and concerns for the group

Caleb Martin

The first meeting for People Respecting Identity Diversity for Everyone, or PRIDE, was held on Jan, 26. PRIDE discussed the upcoming events and future meetings for the semester, as well as their growing concerns for the future in light of recent political events, and the current issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. 

“The mission for PRIDE is to create a safe and supportive environment, promote diversity, and encourage an inclusive community within Midwestern State University. An LGBTQ+ community is vital for a student’s success, especially in college. With the help of allies, we hope to bring a more broad awareness for the LGBTQ+ community. Student will be able to reach full potential by being comfortable for who they are while helping each other out. Many LGBTQ+ individuals don’t feel that sense of community, but PRIDE hopes to encourage the advancement of LGBTQ+ individuals and allies,” PRIDE President Christopher Cruz, theater performance sophomore said.

The meeting began with Cruz welcoming back the current members, and introducing the new members. The group engaged in an icebreaker activity by passing around toilet paper rolls, instructing each member to take the amount of toilet paper they use on a daily basis off the toilet paper roll. The amount of toilet paper an individual ripped off would be the amount of “interesting facts” they were supposed to tell the group about themselves.

After introductions were made, Cruz directed the group to its main concerns. They discussed their thoughts on being part of the LGBTQ+ community, why they believed a LGBTQ+ community was important, not only on campus, but in Wichita Falls in light of the local gay bar closing. Fear was expressed as some of the students discussed their discomfort with the reportedly public hatred conveyed towards the LGBTQ+ community.

“The fears [of the LGBTQ+ community] are very real. Especially with Donald Trump being President now, the fears have become even more real,” Alexis Mendez, psychology junior and PRIDE secretary, said.

At the previous “Are You Afraid of Trump” forum, a Trump supporter allegedly spoke out in support of Vice-President Pence’s views on electroshock conversion therapy as a cure for homosexuality.

“One of the Trump supporters was told it [conversion therapy] was okay,” PRIDE treasurer Cecilia Pasillas, sociology sophomore, said. “If you see someone being discriminated against just for their sexual orientation, you should stop it because even if you don’t [try] to stop it, you’re still actively participating in it.”

PRIDE members also discussed taking the time to coordinate with the Women’s March on The Falls coordinator and other students interested in a joint protest on April 15, demanding President Donald Trump to release his tax returns. Further plans on this demonstration are expected to come about in the following PRIDE meetings.

On Feb. 13 and 14, PRIDE will be hosting “Condoms and Kisses” in the Mesquite Dining Hall. Members will be handing out gift bags with condoms and Hershey’s Kisses for a dollar to promote awareness and safe sex. There will also be a movie night on Feb. 16, when PRIDE will be showing “Pariah” at 8 p.m. in the Legacy Multipurpose Room. Members encourage students of all backgrounds to join PRIDE.

“It’s really an inclusive environment for everyone and we welcome anybody straight, gay, pink or yellow,” Pasillas said.