Rollins College has Pride. Pride in the school, of course, but also pride in each individual and who they are. The practical demonstration of that Pride took place this past Saturday Nov. 12 at Lake Eola Park for the Come Out With Pride event that had been delayed due to concerns about Hurricane Matthew several weeks prior. Though it rained on that parade, the rescheduled Pride was a rousing success! The turnout for Pride was huge, many citing the quantity of people as the result of the recent presidential election.
Many sported anti-Trump shirts and parody merchandise. Indeed, there was a STRONG anti-Trump sentiment shared by approximately everyone in attendance at the event. Whether or not Trump will protect LGBTQA+ Americans in any way is debatable (especially with Pence as his VP), but certainly the LGBTQA+ community is vigilant and ready to pounce at any assaults on the progress made thus far.
There were also many acknowledgements and remembrances of the Pulse tragedy that occurred on June 12. In wake of those events, the LGBTQA+ community of Orlando rallied together to show their support and bravery in defiance of violence and hate crime. This event is an example of such defiance.
A variety of booths with all manner of different services and merchandise was offered. Pride shirts and flags were abundant, as were bands, necklaces, and stickers. Somewhat unusual stands were sexy underwear vendors and dog adoption booths. Several banks and other corporations were also showing their support at their own booths. The Zebra Coalition and other organizations were also present.
There was a profusion of live entertainment at the event as well, ranging from drag queens to comedy and music performances at the Lake Eola bandshell (which was painted rainbow in honor of the Pulse victims).
The Most Colorful Parade in Orlando commenced at 4pm and was marshaled by the Orlando Police Department, the Orlando Fire Department, the Pulse Float (manned by Pulse employees and family members of those affected, followed by additional first responders and ORMC staff), Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, and PNC Bank as a sponsor.
Rollins College itself was represented in the parade by Spectrum, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Sexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Pansexual, Asexual, & Ally Alliance here at Rollins. Alongside festive floats and dancers marched Spectrum, prompting cheers from the crowd. More than a handful of Pride-goers chanted “Go Tars” and “Rollins! Rollins!” or that Rollins College was their alma mater.
The evening concluded with a dazzling and brilliant fireworks display over Lake Eola.
“I was really pleased to see such a high turnout of supporters. It seemed a bit more like it was a fair than a parade, especially with the booths, games, the puppies, and the pirates. Everything was overall festive and jovial, though there were some somber tributes to the victims of the Pulse Tragedy”
-Alex Jeffirs ‘20
“It was so much fun! There was so much love and positive energy all around Lake Eola. I felt like I was at home. And the parade was insane! I didn’t expect it to be that long or that big, so it blew my mind!”
-Kalli Joslin ‘19
“I thought the event was fantastically done and the amount of support from the community and the Orlando area really made the event something special.”
-Kyle Kern ‘20