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Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

Pride Ball concludes Queer Week on a high note

Kosuke “Matty” Matsui / Hilltop Views
The University Programming Board team, celebrating and enjoying their event. “Since it’s Pride Week, we wanted to make this week just specifically for the LGBTQ+ students,” Tate (middle) said. “To just show that we support them and are here for them.”

The University Programming Board and SEU PRIDE collaborated to host Pride Ball, the last event celebrating Queer Week, on Oct. 20. The Mabee Ballrooms were turned into a dance floor and were filled with vibrant balloons and colorful spotlight reflections from the disco ball, welcoming the hilltop’s LGBTQ+ community to a night of festivities and authenticity. 

“I feel every student deserves to feel like they have a safe place away from home,” Wanye Tate, assistant director of Student Involvement, said. “Since it’s Pride Week, we wanted to make this week just specifically for the LGBTQ+ students. To just show that we support them and give them a sense of comfort and stability of how they should actually feel as a student.” 

“A place like this that is very open about its support for LGBTQ students it’s very forward – willing to display that it is entirely okay to have pride in your identity and sexuality,” Counce said. “I think that’s something important because it shows that it is okay to be who you are and you don’t have anything to fear for.” (Kosuke “Matty” Matsui / Hilltop Views)

Pride Ball appeared to be a success, bringing more than 50 students together. The atmosphere radiated acceptance as attendees embraced each other for their vulnerability and sparkle within a safe space. 

“These pride-affiliated events are so important to show queer students that they have a safe place here where they can be themselves without punishment, without repercussions,”  Logan Counce, a member of Equity and Justice Counsel for the Student Diversity and Inclusion Office, said. “That’s a very important thing to maintain, especially in a very socially conservative state like Texas.” Marshall Piel, the vice president of Trans Wellness Organization, showed up to the event with his Neura Toxin drag-attire. 

“I am so happy that there are these events because I just get to be here and be myself,” Piel said. “I would never be able to do this at prom or school dances, but I can unapologetically be myself around other people who are also doing that – It’s just really liberating and it’s a wonderful place to be.” 

The entrance of the ballroom was adorned in shiny rainbow streamers leading one into a secure, judgment-free zone. Inside, a DJ was playing iconic queer hits such as “Your Love Is My Drug” by Ke$ha and “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, allowing students to set the dance floor on fire.

“Honestly I don’t feel I’m being judged at all, which I really like,” freshman Ripley Petrovic said. “That makes me happy.”

A group of friends gathering together, prepared to dance and have a good time.
(Kosuke “Matty” Matsui / Hilltop Views)

The drag show from last year was one of the biggest events for the university’s growing LGBTQ+ community, providing students with a safe space to express themselves artistically and uniquely. For those wondering if the drag show is still happening this year – it has been postponed to next spring to give the students more time to organize the event, according to Counce. 

“It was such a magnificent show,” Counce said. “Whatever happens, we’re gonna make sure that it will happen.” 

Queer Week helped raise awareness on campus, allowing St. Edward’s students to experience and learn more about themselves and others throughout the different activities. More events are expected to come to support and represent these communities throughout campus.

“I am happy to just be the person I am, even though I am still figuring things out about myself,” junior Yaleet Reyes said. “I would say, just be who you are. Don’t let anybody say that you have to fit in a certain label or category – be who you feel you are deep inside.”

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About the Contributor
Gabrielle Caumon
Gabrielle Caumon, Staff Writer
Gabrielle Caumon is a junior from Paris, France, who is pursuing a major in the BFA Acting program and a minor in Journalism. This is her second semester writing for Hilltop Views and her first as a Staff Writer. She loves writing for the Life & Arts section, and is excited to branch out and try out other genres.

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