By Brianna Bush
UTampa Pride, an organization that provides a safe space for the LGBTQIA++ community, is back underway with a vision for the organization to be a “facilitator of change.”
“To me, that means we start bridging the gap between cisgender heterosexual people and the queer community because we are a lot more similar than one might think,” said Napolean Glover, the current president of UTampa Pride.
Glover plans to bring the tenacity the organization had in previous years by hosting events, workshops, and panels. This includes continuing the tradition of hosting their annual drag show and creating events that advocate for LGBTQIA++ community rights.
“It should be good for Pride to be that stepping stone in changing someone’s life out there,” said Glover, “but also working to change political and societal structures.”
Glover plans to hold a faculty-student panel that provides insight on how the LGBTQIA++ community navigates through the professional world and to educate the UT community on how to build a strong allyship.
With the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill impacting the LGBTQIA++ community, Glover said they hope to hold a “‘Do Say Gay’ event to combat and educate people on how to support transgender and gay youth.”
Ericka Buckley, the associate director of leadership and diversity education, and Thomas Witherspoon, the Chief Diversity Officer, work closely with Glover to provide support to the club.
“They’re both amazing allies to the community and are really devoted to helping however they can whenever they can,” said Glover.
According to Glover, Witherspoon brings in a lot of opportunities for education through programs like SafeZone training.
“[The program] helps educate and teach people about queer identities and how to handle them socially,” said Glover.
Buckley heped to organize the club’s tabling event coming up on April 8 to increase their presence on campus.
“[We] are trying to grow the support for our LGBTQIA++ students but also allyship, faculty, and staff that would like to be involved,” said Buckley. “Any support we can give to our students the better.”
Alexandria Hernandez, first-year psychology major and an LGBTQIA++ ally, showed her support for UTampa Pride by attending the Tampa Pride Parade with the organization on March 27.
“I think allyship is important because it’s working together and holding yourself accountable before others,” said. “Making a change takes more than a few people; recognizing where you help is only step one.”
UTampa Pride is currently looking for students to join the executive board who are passionate about the organization’s mission. They have nine positions open including secretary, treasurer, advocacy and community chairs, social media and marketing coordinator, event coordinator, and representative.
“There has been a nice turnout and a lot of positions,” said Glover.
As UTampa Pride continues to grow their support on campus, Glover said that when he graduates he wants there to be sustainability, so students walk in feeling like they have connections on campus.
Photo by Rachel Ali