Governor’s Celebrates Pride Week

Governor’s Celebrates Pride Week

Governor’s celebrated Pride Week from Monday, October 3 to Sunday, October 9. Pride Week is celebrated annually across the world to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) Americans. Events included listening to an LGBTQ+ author during Convocation, participating in a Community Conversation about LGBTQ+ identities, dressing up in drag for the Rainbow Party, and painting a rainbow crosswalk.

Tianyi Shen ‘23 and Maggie Zhou ‘25, Co-Heads of Spectrum, worked in close partnership with the Office of Multicultural Education to plan Pride Week. Zhou shared, “We started our preparations in early August with (Dean of Multicultural Education) Eddie (Carson) over Zoom. We listed ideas of the events we wanted to host and drafted specific plans for each of the events. When we came back in September, those drafted ideas became more detailed, and eventually, we had our Pride Week plan for this year.”

“Our core goals for this year were education, visibility, and safe space, so we built spectrum-exclusive, community-wide, and inter-school-wide educational celebrations around that,” added Shen. 

Spectrum, Governor’s gender sexuality alliance, works to raise awareness about LGBQT+ issues through advocacy and education. The student-led group hosts a number of events throughout the year, ranging from discussions about identity, dances, and formal presentations, and is open to all members of the LGBQT+ community and allies.

Shen spoke about her motivation for taking a leadership role in Spectrum this year, “I had a close relationship with the co-heads of Spectrum last year and wanted to continue their work. Spectrum has always been an empowering safe space for me, and as someone who’s never really been ‘out’ to the whole school, I wanted to bring my ability in organizing events and facilitating conversations to maintain that space for other people who are still exploring their identity.”

Carson shared why Govs celebrating Pride Week is so important, “To highlight our inclusive campus and model for internal and external folks why we are who we say we are.”

Convocation on Thursday featured author Madeline Kay Sneed who writes about the intersection of queerness and faith. Her recent book, The Golden Season, delves into communities, faith, family, football culture in Texas, and LGBQT+ identities. In addition to speaking to our community during Convocation, she participated in a book signing and attended an evening Community Conversation hosted by Spectrum.

The Pride Week traditions of the Paint Party and the Rainbow Party continued this year with new elements added to each. At Friday night’s Paint Party on Porter Field, students wore white t-shirts, so the explosion of paint balloons created fireworks of color on their clothing. At Saturday night’s Rainbow Party, students were encouraged to dress in drag, and there was a photo booth complete with props. “Lots of people dressed up in drag and came to support the queer community. It takes a lot of confidence to be able to dress up in drag in a school setting, where everybody knows everybody,” said Shen.

Pride Week culminated with a conference on Sunday. “We wanted to create an opportunity for LGBQT+ affinities across schools to connect with each other, something that has never happened before,” said Shen. Over 50 students from five independent schools attended the conference, which was held in the Peter Marshall French Student Center. A highlight of the conference was the keynote speaker, Jackson Frotune O’Brien, a transgender male student attending Merrimack College, who shared his struggles and experiences. Of the conference, Zhou said, “It was a meaningful experience for me, seeing students from different schools share their experiences.”

“The conference was really important because I feel like whenever we see an awareness event, we often see adult figures, or senior leadership, or administrative figures up on stage talking about awareness, but we rarely see student leaders connecting with each other and talking about what they did because, in reality, they did so much stuff in their schools to make change happen. And I feel like the conference was definitely a great cause for our school to see how [affinity groups] were operating in other schools,” said Shen.

As part of the Pride Week celebration, Shen and Zhou advocated to have one of Govs traditionally cardinal red crosswalks repainted as a rainbow crosswalk. With the help of the Facilities team, including Director Tom Woodruff P’24 and Tradesperson Randy Lyons, and Fall Theater Tech and Drama students, the crosswalk between the Phillips Building and the Pescosolido Library is now rainbow-colored.

group of students pose with two facilities employees with fall foliage and rainbow crosswalk

In reflecting on Pride Week, Zhou shared, “Pride Week sets the tone for DEI work throughout the whole school year and strengthens our support for the queer folks on campus.”

Of Shen and Zhou, Carson said, “They are outstanding leaders. Organized. Passionate. And two students who have furthered a sense of allowing our students to feel as though they can be themselves here on campus.”