Events are held weekly throughout May, ranging from supporting LGBTQIA+ survivors to making pride crochet plushies
This year’s Pride Month theme, Queers in Bloom, is meant to provide a space for folks to showcase their individuality and highlight the importance of providing culturally conscious support for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Although Pride Month usually takes place in June, the overlap between Mental Health Awareness Month and Pride at UC Davis creates an important kinship between the two, both of which occur in May and have had ongoing events throughout this past month.
Jamie Lozano, a third-year cognitive science major, enjoys that UC Davis holds Pride in May.
“The parallels between Mental Health Awareness Month and Pride Month at Davis give us a great opportunity as queer people and allies to have conversations about how mental health impacts the LGBT+ community,” Lozano said.
Rachel Henry, the education and outreach manager at CARE, facilitated a training event for UC Davis staff and faculty on Tuesday, May 18 titled, “Supporting LGBTQIA+ Survivors.”
This training was provided to increase understanding about community-specific forms of abuse and how this information can be utilized to better support LGBTQIA+ survivors.
“LGBTQIA+ survivors face many unique barriers to accessing services that may include, among many others, the danger of being ‘outed’ or the risk of experiencing transphobia or homophobia while seeking support,” Henry said.
The event provided professional development opportunities needed to increase the ability to support survivors, which Henry believes “is an imperative part of centering student experiences that might otherwise be left out of the important conversations on reducing sexual violence.”
On Wednesday, May 19 another event called “LGBTQIA+ Community,” was put on by the Mental Health Initiative (MHI) alongside the LGBTQIA+ Resource Center.
MHI has also provided a Spotify playlist for all of the LGBTQIA+ anthems.
Held via Zoom, the event focused on the intersectionality of mental health, the LGBTQIA+ identity and other personal identities such as race and religion.
During the event, panelist Jon De Paul Dunbar, a community advising network counselor at Student Health and Counseling Services, brought up the significance of helping individuals find the strength within themselves or what he called “being your own cheerleader.”
Dunbar also shared how he felt about both Mental Health Awareness and Pride being in the same month.
“This allows students and the UC Davis Community to celebrate, raise awareness, solidify connections and spread information while the majority of students and staff are on campus, instead of during the summer when most are not,” Dunbar said.
Other Pride Month events include crocheting pride plushies.
In asking if Lozano was still able to feel connected despite the events being virtual, they said they were able to see the bright side of the situation.
“I found that it has been easier for me to reach out to my community through virtual events and platforms like Discord,” Lozano said. “Through these virtual events, I’ve made more friends because I’m able to put myself out there, have conversations and ask questions virtually that I wouldn’t know how to word in person.”
Creating an environment that validates individuals’ experiences while also understanding that every person is different is key for Lozano.
“There is no one right way to be queer, to be trans or to be a human,” Lozano said. “Inclusivity means incorporating every story and acknowledging that individuality is beautiful. Not every person has the same experiences, but we can find common ground with one another and foster positive and sincere relationships.”
On Thursday, May 20, the LGBTQIA+ Resource Center recognized Multisexual Awareness Day. Also known as multiromantic, multisexual is a term used to describe attraction to more than one gender.
For more information, visit ‘ucdlgbtqia’ on Instagram or the LGBTQIA+ Resource Center’s direct website.
Written by: Nicholas Murphy — firstname.lastname@example.org