The annual SpectrUM Pride Awareness Week kicked off Sunday with the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade on sunny Ocean Drive.
SpectrUM is the LGBT resource on campus. Its purpose is to educate students about diversity within sexual orientations.
“SpectrUM is the space to explore and see other people, engage and have a sense of colorful diversity and solidarity,” SpectrUM President Shelby Juarez said.
Feathered with UM students, the parade brought participants a sense of pride far beyond what they had imagined, junior Luna Cornin said.
Cornin was walking in support of her best friend, another UM student who would like to remain anonymous. They sported matching rainbow sweatbands and bright-colored tops.
After the Pride Walk, SpectrUM members’ excitement for the week have been set in motion.
Senior Christina Robinson, support chair of SpectrUM, reflected on the walk.
“It was a spiritual experience for me,” she said. “It was ridiculous. Tons of people, half-naked men, and tons of mingling.”
The week will take a quieter turn on Monday with the Day of Silence, a silent protest in which people choose not to speak in order to create awareness about LGBT issues.
Some students put duct tape on their mouths, and others choose to stay silent. The purpose of this day is to commemorate people in the LGBT community who have suffered from assault, harassment, homicide and suicide.
Monday’s festivities will close with a candle vigil to further commemorate those who have suffered from LGBT related crimes on the Rock at 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday will begin with a religion panel that addresses the overlap between religion and LGBT issues.
On Wednesday, SpectrUM will host Marriages on the Rock to promote marriage equality.
“Anyone can marry anyone at Marriages on the Rock – just not more than one person,” Robinson said.
Marriages on the Rock include a flowing red carpet, white cake, a ring pop and a certificate of marriage.
In an effort to promote the event during last year’s Pride Week, Juarez arranged with Robinson’s professor to make a public marriage proposal to Robinson.
Unfortunately, Robinson decided to pass on class that day. However, Juarez rebounded fast and proposed to another friend in the class. The two were happily married later that day.
During the Drag Show on Thursday, there will be a talent portion, presentation, a strut down the stage, a dance and question component. Anyone can participate in the show, and Juarez and Robinson will both be starring in it. Students can visit the SpectrUM office (UC244) to sign up to participate.
Although the club has activities and meetings all year, members feel that this week is an opportunity to get out of the office and engage with the entire UM community as a whole, according to Juarez.
“This week is really awesome and is the least intimidating way for people to engage with SpectrUM,” Robinson said. “Everyone is able to come up and approach you and not have to worry about people wondering they’re gay or not.”
SpectrUM is a tight-knit community of about 50 regular members. Being in SpectrUM means accepting that you’re a minority and then becoming stronger as a community, Robinson said.
“I am comfortable in this community and now am comfortable in other communities,” she said. “The fact that I know that I have done what SpectrUM has done for me for other people is something I am very proud of.”
To get involved in SpectrUM’s Pride Awareness Week, visit the SpectrUM office in UC224 or email Shelby Juarez at firstname.lastname@example.org.