Every June, Pride Month presents an opportunity to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in all of its richness and diversity. Pride also serves as a reminder to reflect on the history of the people who paved the way for others. For Barnard, this starts at home with our students and alums, who have long championed LGBTQ+ rights on campus, in New York City and beyond. This article on a brief history of LGBTQ+ life at Barnard offers a glimpse of the College’s efforts over the years from its founding to the current day. Next year, Dylan Kapit ’16, Barnard’s inaugural LGBTQ+ Outreach Coordinator, will continue this legacy with plans to create a Barnard Pride Month to give students ample opportunities to connect and celebrate during the academic year.
This year, four Barnard community members share what pride means for them. Read their reflections below.
J Madden ’22
“To me, Pride is two-fold. It’s a time to celebrate all of the joy and love that I have cultivated in my life. Pride also means honoring the struggle that we engage with everyday. Being queer and trans in this world is difficult; we have to fight for our lives each and every day, [and] we have to fight to affirm ourselves and our peers in a world that does not believe in our identities and struggles. I’m proud to have started Boys, Butches, and Bros at Barnard, a collective where we acknowledge and honor our differences and work to build solidarity with each other. We fight to survive together. I am strengthened by our necessary and continuous struggle. I am strong because of my queerness. Let’s celebrate the ongoing struggle and love we cultivate every day, not just during one month. Let’s fight to affirm and accept trans students at Barnard.”
Daniela Plaza ’24
“For me, Pride is about learning how to be present and comfortable in your own skin. Finding pride is the process of discovering what being authentic means to you. It is important to have the month of Pride to create a space that encourages people to explore that for themselves. Pride is a celebration of authenticity, queer joy, and empowering love.”
Mariame Sissoko ’24
“Pride has a multitude of meanings for me. It’s partly a celebration of what it means to be out and truly yourself regardless of social conventions, yet a stark reminder of the resilience of queer communities who protested and fought for me and others to be our most authentic selves loudly and proudly. For me, this year’s Pride, more than ever, needs to be imbued [with] the same fighting energy to preserve and further the right to public authenticity every queer person deserves.”
Our next reflection is from a rising senior at Barnard. They have chosen to keep their reflection anonymous for personal reasons.
“Pride means a lot of things to me. It’s a noun, it’s an adjective, it’s a period of time, it’s a place, it’s a feeling, it’s a call to arms, it’s a celebration. It’s an emotion evoked within me when I think of the awesome members of the LGBTQ+ community by whom I have had the privilege of being surrounded, from whom I have been granted the honor of learning, and alongside whom I have been blessed to be able to flourish and grow.”