De Anza College students and faculty have had to adjust their pride month celebrations because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to safety mandates, pride parades, including San Francisco, have been canceled, and as a result, students and faculty have been unsure how to celebrate their own pride.
Despite this uncertainty, the Jean Miller Resource Room, a safe space for LGBTQ+ students and staff, is continuing to celebrate pride virtually through outreach and pride-centered virtual conferences.
The JMRR has been hosting the “Queer and Now Conference” since 2015. This year, the conference was forced to move online.
“A conference that brings these activists and academic minds together who are also part of the LGBTQ community is important to us, to share their experiences and serve as a connection to the students at De Anza.” Loan-Ahn Pham, 18, communications major and JMRR intern said.
The JMRR is also planning to have an alternative celebration for the new graduates.
They usually have annual graduation for the members of the community and its allies.
After graduation, JMRR typically hosts a pride ball celebration, which had to be canceled due to social distancing measures.
“What we’re trying to do is still reach out to those graduates and create a video that honors them,” said Chessa Caparas, JMRR faculty coordinator. “A lot of students are saying that they’re feeling very anxious, scared, and they’re feeling tired, you know, I feel like we’re all finding new ways to honor our authentic selves.”
Wil Byars, senior library technician, said he still plans to have his own personal pride month celebrations during the pandemic.
“The solidarity is most of what I’m considering as my pride month,” he said.
Byars also said he is united with the Black Lives Matter movement during pride as well, since the leader of the Stonewall Riots, which protested police brutality against LGBTQ+ people, was a transgender woman of color.
“I think that there’s nothing we can do that would be a better celebration of Pride Month, then supporting Black Lives Matter protesters right now,” he said.