BY ELLIE MELICK, CO-OPINIONS EDITOR
Wilson’s third-annual Pride Day on May 27 was a bangin’ hit — although it wasn’t quite as flamin’ as last year’s.
Seemingly of out-of-the-blue (or should I say, the rainbow), few students even realized it was Pride Day before they saw the posters on their way to first period the day of. But it was no bother, because there was plenty of pride-filled fun that day during STEP.
The event boasted face-painting, music, and 12 organizations from all over the city doling out everything from pamphlets to stickers to condoms and lube from their information booths. In addition to your usual LGBT+ student support groups, like The Trevor Project, SMYAL, and the DC Center for the LGBT Community, there were also sex ed organizations like Real Talk DC and the DC Department of Health’s HAHSTA (HIV, Aids, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Administration) present and participating in the fun.
This year’s event, spearheaded by the Wilson GSA and supported by our ever-accepting administration, was significantly less flashy than last year’s. But it’s hard to out-do a protest by the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, a huge student counterprotest, AND the international-headline-making coming-out of the school’s principal.
Of course, a lot has changed at Wilson since last year’s Pride Day. Former principal Pete Cahall, who came out as gay during last year’s Pride Day, made headlines a second time when he left DCPS in December. But just because he’s gone doesn’t mean Wilson is an ounce less accepting, inclusive, and proud of all the LGBT+ members of our community.
Interim Principal Gregory Bargeman said that for him, Pride Day is about “getting the Wilson community to accept all people, no matter what sexual orientation, race, background—just the acceptance of all people.”
Madeline Yando, a freshman member of Wilson’s GSA, said of Pride Day, “our goal is to keep people aware that things they say do hurt and to get to people. And to get people to sign up [for GSA] so they can be apart of Pride Day next year.”
As for the many out-of-school organizations at the event, they all had their own reasons for participating.
“LGBT youth are four times more likely attempt suicide, so it’s important for them to know there’s an organization here for them,” said Detrick Manning of The Trevor Project, a group that provides support and suicide prevention services to LGBT+ youth.
Wilson’s Pride day is unique in that it not only focuses on supporting lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and otherwise queer community members; it also focuses on health and sex education. Arnita Harpe of Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a Washington-are organization devoted to helping homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth and their families, said that their goal in being at Wilson’s Pride Day was “to inform young people; to give them info about safe sex.”
The 2015 Pride Day may not have been quite as crazy as the one before it. But it was still a success in the eyes of the students who put the event together and everyone who helped make it happen.
PHOTOS BY CARL STEWART, VIDEOGRAPHER