Despite not participating in the Homecoming Parade out of fear prior to 2013, the new route encouraged LGBT students and other activist groups to participate in marching in the parade.

Before the Ohio University Homecoming Parade route was changed in 2013, many LGBT individuals felt uncomfortable marching, said delfin bautista, director of the LGBT Center.

bautista, who uses they/them pronouns and the lowercase spelling of their name, said many people were already intoxicated in the morning and threw beer cans at marchers. The LGBT Center, they said, didn’t participate in the parade, out of fear as a group, until 2013.

Starting in 2013, the center began marching again, and this year, it will team up with several other LGBT and social activism-associated groups for a combined presence.

“It’s been really encouraging folks coming up to us these last two years saying they really appreciate seeing us again,” bautista said. “We would love for athletes to come to our events but it’s also important for us to show up at their events and not to create an ‘us vs. them,’ but to show that we also have school spirit and we want to be a visible presence at Homecoming.”

The center will team up to march with Open Doors, SHADES and Feminist Equality Movement. Additionally, they invite alumni and high school students to march. They will hold a tailgate in tailgate park before the event and invite anyone, regardless of if they are LGBT or not.

“I think it’s good to show that there’s an LGBT presence on campus, especially to alumni who may not have been involved in the community and didn’t know it was such a huge aspect of students lives,” Sarah Grote, projects coordinator of the LGBT Center and a senior studying recreation management, said. “I think it’s really cool that we’ll be marching with FEM and SHADES because it shows the intersectional aspects of what the LGBT Center stands for. We want to better the lives of all the students.”

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bautista said the group plans to hand out stickers to people at the sidelines of the parade.

“It’s fun to see kids get really excited about getting a rainbow sticker and the parents fighting with the kids in order to get one for themselves,” bautista said with a laugh. “All in all, it’s been very positive, and being in the parade is fun.”

@rachel_hartwick

rh375113@ohio.edu

 

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