Pride Week celebrates the LGBTQ+ community

General's Unity annual weeklong event had daily activities to raise awareness and cultivate support

Ben+Hess%2C+%2723%2C+and+Lauren+Hollis%2C+%2723%2C+hold+up+flags+at+the+Pride+Week+table+in+Commons.+Photo+by+Grace+Mamon.
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Pride Week celebrates the LGBTQ+ community

Ben Hess, '23, and Lauren Hollis, '23, hold up flags at the Pride Week table in Commons. Photo by Grace Mamon.

Ben Hess, '23, and Lauren Hollis, '23, hold up flags at the Pride Week table in Commons. Photo by Grace Mamon.

Ben Hess, '23, and Lauren Hollis, '23, hold up flags at the Pride Week table in Commons. Photo by Grace Mamon.

Ben Hess, '23, and Lauren Hollis, '23, hold up flags at the Pride Week table in Commons. Photo by Grace Mamon.

Grace Mamon

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Washington & Lee’s Pride Week is hosted annually by General’s Unity (GU), the campus organization for equal rights regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We have a whole week of Pride related events,” said GU President Ginny Johnson, ‘20. “It’s basically just to celebrate the LGBTQ community and provide support and just have a good time.”

Daily activities and tabling in Elrod Commons worked to bring awareness to the LGBTQ+ community and encourage inclusivity on campus.

The LGBTQ+ pride flag was displayed in Commons all week, joined by the asexual, bisexual, transexual, pansexual and lesbian flags.

GU Secretary Andrew Claybrook, ‘22, attended the Coming Out Stories event at the Red House on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

“A lot of times with coming out stories, I think there’s an expectation that they’re going to be difficult and that there’s going to be a struggle with identity,” Claybrook said. “But what I heard last night was actually really hopeful and uplifting. Even though there were some difficulties in everyone’s story, they’re happy and they’re moving forward and things are going well.”

Other events included partnerships with the Student Association for Black Unity and the Student Environmental Action League. SABU co-sponsored a round table discussion on how to be a good ally and SEAL co-sponsored a clothing swap.

“Let’s not waste clothes. That’s the SEAL side of it,” Johnson said. “From our side, it’s to say gender doesn’t matter what you wear. You should be able to wear whatever makes you happy.”

The organization also brought Jay Jurden, a queer comedian from New York, to FUDG on Friday night.

Johnson said there was an overwhelmingly positive response to Pride Week.

“I think it can be particularly hard to be a minority student on this campus, just given that we are a white southern school,” she said. “So it can be nice to see yourself represented and really feel like a part of the community in a really physical way.”

Claybrook agreed, saying that it’s important for Washington and Lee to think about what it means to be a modern college campus.

“I think events like this, events like Sex Week, like OIE Day, are all opportunities to showcase just how extraordinary diversity can be,” he said.

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