The only colors more important than the rainbow at the annual Utah Pride Parade this year were the green and yellow of UVU. Held on June 5, it was the first time the Spectrum Club: Queers & Allies Association participated in the parade. Walking alongside a UVU car decorated Spectrum Club banners, 15 students held up signs and waved to the crowd that filled six city blocks in downtown Salt Lake City.
The Spectrum Club fit right in with other organizations including the Human Rights Campaign, the Utah AIDS Foundation and the Utah Gay Father Association. Music from various artists such as Lady Gaga and Cher filled the air as the crowd cheered on. Along with an assortment of rainbow colored wrist bands, balloons, scarves and banners, an array of gay rights slogans could be found on posters and t-shirts. Shirts from the Human Rights Campaign stated “Legalize Gay,” while others carried the symbols for peace, love and equality. More than one person walked by with a shirt that simply read, “I’m straight but I support gay marriage.”
The parade is in its 28th year and has grown to be the second largest parade in Utah, beat only by the Days of ’47 parade. Kelly Birch, a senior originally from Texas reflected on how the Pride Festival has grown. “I’m really proud of us coming together as a community,” Birch said. “It’s really strengthened our resolve to stand for equal rights.”
When it came to arranging the Spectrum Club’s first appearance in the Pride Parade, all credit goes to former club president Frey Seagrove. “This is freaking awesome,” said current co-president Tom Hawkins. “Frey did an incredible job getting us in the parade.” Seagrove, who held the presidency last year handed it over to Hawkins and Ronnie Sorensen, who will lead the club for the next year. “When I head we were in the parade, I was so excited,” Hawkins said. “This will be great publicity, not only for the club but for the university as a whole.”
The parade will be one of the last times the club will be known as the Spectrum Club. The club will be changing its name soon due to the confusion over the current name. “When Tom [Hawkins] came to campus, he couldn’t find the Gay/Straight Alliance Club,” Sorensen said. The new name will be LGBTQI/Straight Alliance, LGBTQI standing for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Intersex.
The Spectrum Club has big plans for the upcoming year, including outreach programs at the local junior high and high schools and fundraising for a Salt Lake shelter that caters to LGBTQI teens. They also hope to do more on campus. “We’re going to be participating in Jump Start over the summer,” Sorensen said. “I also want to do the shopping cart parade at homecoming. We didn’t do that last year.”