The First Gay Pride Was a Riot

Pride wasn’t born out of a need to celebrate being LGBTQ+ but out of a right to exist without persecution. As a queer, Latino man working with communities that are often marginalized for who they are and who they love, I cherish every opportunity I have to be a part of a Pride celebration. It’s a chance to come together with my community to show our love for each other…and maybe throw a little glitter in the air.

As we kick off Pride month, I reflect back to my time as an undergrad at Florida International University in Miami, FL. I clearly remember looking around wondering where the other gay people were (I say gay because my knowledge of the LGBTQ+ community was limited in my early years). I talked to a friend of mine and said “Well, I know you and you know me…so that makes two of us. Let’s see what we can do to find a community.”  A few months later and we had resurrected the LGBTQ student group on campus, Stonewall 2 BBC, and hosted our first big event - National Coming Out Day. It was the first time we really felt that our campus had embraced the LGBTQ community. 

With the academic year coming to a close and as we prepare to celebrate Pride month across the country, NASPA wanted to highlight some of the great work that is happening on our campuses celebrating Pride - in all its variations of the rainbow.

Pride Event at Julliard School of the Arts for National Coming Out Day

MIT at Boston Pride  

National Coming Out Day at Vanderbilt University

The true beauty of our queer community is that we will always continue to grow, evolve, and expand in love for ourselves and others. This doesn’t mean that it will be an easy journey but it’s an important one that we must continue on every day. Those who came before us have given us the tools we need to succeed to make a more vibrant and just community for all. I’m grateful to have the privilege to do the work that I do and meet NASPA members from across the globe who are committed to equity, diversity, and social justice as a foundation framework for our communal growth. Knowing that we are an association that values our authentic expression motivates me to continue to elevate the stories of my community, particularly those of queer and trans people of color, so that we can all benefit from the talent and experience in our field.

Share your pride celebrations with NASPA year-round by tagging @NASPATweets on Twitter or @NASPAPics on Instragram!

About the author:

Danny Anzueto is the Associate Director of Recruitment, Engagement, and Volunteerism at NASPA. He is also the co-founder of the Maven Leadership Collective – a leadership development program for queer and trans people of color and allies.