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By Perdita Blinkhorn, LGBT+ Officer
Last week was Pride Week, an annual event organised by the LSESU LGBT+ Officer in collaboration with Pride: The Gender and Sexual Diversity (GSD) Alliance, which aims to celebrate the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender+ community at LSE. With a whole host of events lined up for the week, it proved to be yet another engaging and eye opening SU celebration.
In recent years, various changes have been made both nationally and at LSE to make society more inclusive; Pride week is a chance to remember why being proud about Sexuality is so important, and what we still have left to do.
The Monday kicked off the festivities with “Queer Expression”, an event that provided LGBT+ students with the opportunity to express their experiences, through stories, spoken word and song. All of the performances were raw and looked at varying aspects of being queer, from having your first straight crush, to an HIV scare. The Tuesday opened up a space for Trans* students to come and share their experiences, learning from each other and reinforcing a sense of community for these students.
We opened up Sheffield Street to the Faith Centre and the Student Christian Movement (SCM) on the Wednesday so they could talk about being queer in faith. The SCM made a fantastic “Love is…” board which students added to throughout the week, suggesting that love was everything from “hope” to “pizza”. The evening was met with some trepidation, as this year there was no AU Pride Night. Instead, clubs were encouraged to celebrate their LGBT+ members in their own way, with clubs like Women’s Rugby getting their usual neon rain face paint on.
The theme of inclusive sport was present throughout the week, with a photo exhibition in the SU of LGBT+ Olympians, Paralympians and athletes, in order to celebrate diversity in this Olympic year. The Thursday also featured a free inclusive Dance workshop run by the fantastic LSE AU Dance Club. This gave an opportunity to queer students who may previously have not been interested in joining the Athletics Union a chance to sample it for free in a zero pressure environment.
Finally, the end of the week came after a week of the Pride Alliance running a stall outside, offering innovative activities such as “Pop the Homophobe” and “Guess the GSD Flag”. In the evening, LGBT+ students, staff and Alumni were invited to an end of week celebration, before gaining special entry to a collaboration night with Saucy. The week was well received and has seemed highly successful, but would not have been possible without all the volunteers and SU staff who helped. A big thank you to all of them, and hopefully together we can continue to make the culture at our university as warm and welcoming as possible for LGBT+ students.