Over 70 students and Oxford community members marched from the Seal to Uptown Park on Saturday in Oxford’s first Pride Parade in over ten years.
The event brought together a number of Oxford community and Miami University organizations including Spectrum, Tint, Not in Our Town, the League of Women Voters, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the Women’s and LGBTQ Center, the Office of Diversity Affairs, and the Office of Community Engagement.
Marchers wore Spectrum t-shirts that read “Love. Honor. PRIDE.” as well as rainbow leis, scarves, flags and face paint.
Many Oxford residents brought their children with them. One toddler clad all in rainbow hearts gleefully handed out stickers to the crowd.
Spectrum president and junior Hannah Abigail Clarke began the parade with a speech at the confetti-covered Seal. She wore a pride flag draped around her as a toga with a laurel wreath hair ornament — a nod to Roman generals who marched in parades “full of pride and triumph” — and explained that she wanted everyone there to feel as though they were conquering silence and invisibility.
She urged those assembled to remember that pride parades began as marches of protest after the Stonewall riots in 1969.
Clarke announced that “for too long queer students have been invisible and silent on this campus,” and the parade was a great step because “queer happiness is a revolutionary act in itself, being seen is a revolutionary act in itself.”
Then the group moved uptown chanting “Whose town? Our town!” and “When gay rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” Once marchers reached Uptown Park a celebration commenced.
People sat on steps and in the grass eating cupcakes with rainbow frosting and listening to a playlist that included Lady Gaga, Tegan & Sara and ABBA. Many joined in games of Jenga and Twister.
President Gregory and Renate Crawford brought first dog Ivy along with them to the parade to offer support and mingle with students.
Quentin Stickley, a member of Spectrum, enjoyed the laid-back, jubilant atmosphere.
“It really means a lot to be around other queer people because sometimes it can feel really isolating especially being a trans person” they said. “Where I come from there aren’t a lot of out queer people so it’s it’s really nice to be around people my age who are in a similar situation as [I am].”
Cat Looby, a member of Spectrum’s executive board, agreed.
“It’s really nice because it’s a celebration and a show of solidarity between students, staff and faculty and community members,” she said. “It’s nice to feel all the warmth and the commonality together.”