Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Sign up for our twice-weekly newsletter!

Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

Students and alumni bring spirit to pride week

Amid yells and the clinking sound of beaded necklaces flying through the air, an unexpected noise caught the ears of revelers at the Capital Pride parade: the GW fight song.

Students, alumni and even the University’s mascot walked in the parade Saturday afternoon, which stretched from P and 22nd streets to the 14th Street corridor.

The Capital Pride parade, which was originally a festival that began in 1975 as “Gay Pride Day,” is one of thousands of celebrations in cities across the country, with some of the largest in New York, San Francisco and D.C.

Originally organized to inspire more radical activism in the gay rights movement, pride parades now act as a celebration of the LGBT community.

As the GW crew passed, students jumped out of the crowd to join the group brought together for the seventh year by the GW LGBT Alumni Association. By the end of the march, the company had swelled from an original 10 people to a mass of nearly 40.

“It was very, very casual at the parade, especially how we weren’t officially involved with the march originally or the organization of it. We just kind of joined in when we saw our friends,” senior Adam Sulier said.

Sulier was one of the students lining the parade route who struck up the fight song, prompting alumni and other students in the crowd to cheer and wave their arms.

“I think that’s the first time I’ve ever actually sang the fight song,” Sulier said.

Between the people in neon clothes throwing glitter at the bystanders and others, barely clothed, tossing candy and beads, the GW group stood out with its more mellow buff-and-blue attire. But there was no lack of spirit, with students waving rainbow flags and cheering “Yay, GW!.”

Members of Balance Gym, a few slots behind the GW group, were some of the most popular participants in the parade, boasting a car pulled by shirtless glitter-coated men leashed to the front like sled dogs. Others, like the Ready for Hillary group, took a more casual walking pace, promoting their own cause while supporting the LGBT community at the event.

Mayor Vincent Gray also attended and reportedly tried to put beads on members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who were protesting nearby. And, for the first time at any pride parade in the country, a military color guard marched as well.

Only one other group, comprising members of the LGBT Faculty Association and Lambda Pride at the University of Maryland, was made up of college students.

Nick Gumas, the first openly gay president of the GW Student Association, said alumni and student support for the LGBT event showed the University’s engagement with the community and the accepting nature of the campus as a whole.

“I think my favorite part was that as we were marching through, people joined us,” Gumas said. “And I think that’s something that’s very common with the different groups along the pride parade, but I think it demonstrates how committed GW students and GW alumni are to showing their LGBT pride.”

The Capital Pride Parade was not the only event that brought LGBT supporters to Dupont Circle during the city’s annual Pride Week, which lasted from June 1 to June 8 this year.

DC Bike Party and Capital Pride hosted their first-ever “Pride Ride” on Wednesday night, which took bikers past popular bars like Nellie’s and J.R.’s and through neighborhoods with prominent LGBT communities.

Danny Lesh, who was in charge of the sound system for the ride, said the party allowed D.C. residents to express themselves without restraint.

“We put a lot of energy into creating this kind of a space where folks can let their light shine, no matter who they are, what class they come from, no matter race, gender, who they like to kiss, all that kind of stuff. We like people who like to kiss,” Lesh said.

First-time bike party-goer and alumna Lisa Weatherwax said she heard about the event from a few friends and, as an experienced cyclist, jumped at the chance to join.

“I’ve lived in D.C. for a long time and basically wanted to get involved in Pride events this year because every year I want to and don’t,” said Weatherwax, who also volunteered at the parade Saturday.

Other Pride Week festivities included an LGBT poetry celebration Tuesday afternoon, an opening party hosted by Brightest Young Things and Capital Pride on Friday night and Sunday’s festival.

Senior Philip Horowitz said changing attitudes across the U.S., where 18 states have legalized gay marriage and courts have overturned bans in several others, will transform the event in future years.

“Instead of being ‘gay pride’ it’s just going to be a ‘celebration of love’ parade,” Horowitz said. “It changes the conversation from a separation between gays and straights or bi people and straight people or lesbians and straights and trans and just makes it ‘every love is okay.'”

More to Discover
Donate to The GW Hatchet