Pride Week Post Causes Backlash


Pride Week

An Oct. 2 post on the U’s Facebook page about this year’s Pride Week received backlash from students.
Kim Hackford-Peer, the associate director of the Gender Studies Program and co-chair of the Pride Week Committee, addressed the reaction.
“[Think of] Pride Week as the one week during the academic year where we’re paying attention to LGBTQ+ people and issues — histories and stories — [it’s] a time [they] can feel special,” Hackford said. “[Then] you see a poster, and a slur is written across it. It might feel more violent.”
People posting on the U’s Facebook announcement of the event used words “gay” as pejorative, said Pride Week was “ridiculous” and “nobody cares” about the celebration or whether students are gay. One person asked, “And people complain about religion being forced on them?”
Alex Schumacher, a junior in geological engineering, posted, “Can we have a straight pride week too?”
The refrain is common during Pride Week — in 2002, “Straight Pride” fliers were posted and removed all over campus. The group that posted the fliers, which remains anonymous, said the posters were a joke in a 2002 interview with The Daily Utah Chronicle.
In the article, the anonymous flier makers said, “We are not trying to make any kind of political or otherwise statement. When I first saw the ‘University Pride’ posters, I was surprised and came up with the Straight Pride flyers as the average Joe’s version.”
Schumacher said his comment on the Facebook announcement was also in jest. He also said the joke doesn’t reflect his actual views, unlike the 2002 posters.
“My comment about having a ‘straight pride’ week is really pretty shallow in that heterosexual marriage has always been legal,” Schumacher said.
Hackford-Peer said she didn’t notice the posts or any snide remarks surrounding Pride Week events.
Kai Medina-Martinez, director of the U’s LGBTQ+ Resource Center, said she also didn’t see the posts.
But backlash like this isn’t unique to Pride Week.
“I know that stuff like that happens,” Medina-Martinez said. “And it happens every day. Homophobic slurs and transphobic slurs are thrown every day — even in classrooms on this campus.”
Regardless of the posts, Hackford-Peer said Pride Week was a success. Although the committee is still going through evaluation data, the verbal feedback they received was all positive.
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