Members of the Binghamton University LGBTQ+ community got together to show their pride at the University’s annual pride march after a postponement last year due to COVID-19.

The fourth-annual pride march, which was held on Monday for National Coming Out Day, started at 6 p.m. on the Peace Quad and featured student speakers from LGBTQ+ organizations on campus as well as professional staff from the Q Center. Student speakers included Soledad Arianna Perez, a senior majoring in Spanish, from SHADES, an organization for LGBTQ+ students of color, and Elizabeth Wang, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, from Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (oSTEM), an organization for LGBTQ+ students who major in or have an interest in STEM fields.

Nic Francisco, coordinator of the Q Center, talked about their coming out journey to the crowd, and how they have spent their life coming out in different ways to different people.

“I imagine some of you might think, ‘Do people even need to come out anymore?’” Francisco said. “And to that I [emphatically] say, ‘Yes!’ We come out not because we like labels, we come out not because we want to rigidly define ourselves into categories, but because we are already categorized and already labeled every day. We live in a world that assumes that we’re straight unless we say otherwise. We live in a world that assumes that we are women if we have long hair and were born with the name ‘Nichole.’”

After their speech, Francisco led the students in attendance on a march around campus, going from their location on the Peace Quad, around some of the Brain and down the Spine. As they marched down campus, they chanted slogans that spoke out against homophobia and transphobia.

Another speaker at the event was Nicholas Martin, assistant director of the Q Center. Martin shared his story with the crowd and talked about how he was excited to start his new position at BU.

“I’ve only been here for about two weeks now,” Martin said. “But I have been at universities before that have marches on National Coming Out Day, and I think it’s important to show to everybody that maybe isn’t out to everyone in their lives, or is still exploring their identity, that it’s okay to be unsure, and that they can find community within this type of march.”

Julia Saltzman, a graduate student assistant at the Q Center in the master’s of public administration program, also spoke about how important it was for students to find community, especially during LGBT History Month.

“Across the nation, October is [LGBT History Month],” Saltzman said. “This is done not only because it coincides with National Coming Out Day, but also because in June we aren’t typically here [on campus]. We don’t get the chance to celebrate Pride in the way that we at the University and at the Q Center believe that it should be celebrated. This event is so important because it doesn’t only celebrate those that just came out, but the entire queer community.”

Many students were also at the march celebrating their identities or their allyship, such as Bug Tremblay, an undeclared freshman. Tremblay spoke about how this event was important to them as a new student discovering community at the University.

“Being queer and being nonbinary is a big part of who I am and how I express myself,” Tremblay said. “It’s very important for me to be here and show pride, especially for those who aren’t able to be here or be as loudly proud about themselves because they’re in a bad situation or not comfortable sharing that yet, and I want to be here for them.”