The Intercultural Center is celebrating Pride Month as its current Heritage Month in acknowledgement and support of the LGBTQ+ community. While the rest of America celebrates Pride Month every June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, Swarthmore is slightly more fluid with its dates. This semester, the IC will be celebrating Pride Month from Oct. 7 to Nov. 21.
In an attempt to celebrate and recognize the multitudes of identities, including those that are traditionally marginalized, Swarthmore’s Intercultural Center hosts various “Heritage Months,” where speakers and events are organized around these identities. They also serve as educational experiences for the rest of the community. The LGBTQ+ community was first formally celebrated at Swarthmore in 1995, with “Coming Out Week,” which has evolved over the years to become Pride Month, which was first commemorated by the IC on this campus in 2013.
“Pride Month is Swarthmore’s celebration of LGBTQ+ identity, community, and history. It focuses on creating awareness and understanding of the contributions, histories, and experiences of LGBTQ+ folx. The target audience for the events of Pride Month is LGBTQ+ students, including those that are questioning, and allies!” wrote Cooper Kidd, the LGBTQ+ fellow at the IC, in an email.
IC fellow Nyk Roberts expanded on this. They mentioned that they wanted to create spaces for the members of the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate their identities.
“When you look at our Pride Month calendar, it is evident that this year’s committee wanted to focus on being in community with other LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff through parties, celebrations, and meetings around different LGBTQ+ identities,” said Roberts.
The events planned this year emphasize art, education, and celebration. The month began with a poster-making session that involved students coming together to create posters to celebrate famous LGBTQ+ community members of the past. There was also a panel that discussed the question “Am I Queer Enough?”, where professor Sa’ed Atshan gave a talk, after which a student panel shared their experiences of coming out and the various levels of acceptance that they felt. Another popular event that will have taken place at the time of publishing is the Queer Fashion Show, which has been a fixture at past Pride Months, according to Roberts.
This week, there will be a Glitter Bomb Party at Paces on Nov. 4, as well as the “Parrish is Burning” Drag Show, featuring many of the Drag Queens who took part in last semester’s Pride Month “Royal Drag Show” event. Over one hundred students attended the show last semester, many of whom expressed to Roberts that they would like it to be included in future Pride Month Celebrations. Along with other luncheons and celebrations, Nov. 20 will be observed, campus- and nationwide, as Trans Day of Remembrance with a candlelight vigil. A few other events that aren’t funded by the IC also take place at this time. Most notably, the Sager Fund, started in 1988 by Richard Sager ’73, is bringing S. Bear Bergman, an American trans man, author, poet, playwright, and theater artist, to Swarthmore.
These events are mostly planned by the Pride Month Committee, comprising of 20 individuals from all four class years who are selected through an open call process. Kidd serves as a mentor to this committee, offering logistical and functional support to them. Members of the committee declined to comment for this piece.
To learn more about Swarthmore’s Queer History, Dean Rivera recommends an article written for the Phoenix in 2013, entitled “A Queer History of Swarthmore.” Along with the celebration of Pride Month, the IC serves as a resource to students, including those who identify within the LGBTQ+ spectrum, year-round.