U-M Pride Month kickoff events garner national attention

mosaic disco ball with rainbow reflection

April 8, 2024  |  By Nick Pfost

Hieu Minh Nguyen, queer art, and Pride Prom kick off U-M Pride Month

April has been particularly vibrant as Spectrum Center and campus partners have pulled out all the stops celebrating U-M Pride Month. From an acclaimed poet to a queer art showcase to a lively prom night written in the stars, organizers curated spaces for students to connect, grow, and celebrate. The Michigan Daily, Advocate, and PinkNews have featured several of the month's events.

In late March, Spectrum Center joined MESA in hosting poet Hieu Minh Nguyen for a reading and exploration of intersectional identities. The talk was jointly the Pride Month keynote and a core event of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Nguyen, a queer Vietnamese American, discussed themes revolving around race, sexuality, and family—all core elements in his poetic work. 

“I used poetry for the longest time to talk about my own life and how I wanted people to understand my story, but I realized I can also use poetry as a way to understand other people as well," Nguyen said, according to The Michigan Daily. His visit struck a chord, offering a moving testimony to the complexities of identity and the intersectionalities that thrive within the U-M community. 

In another article, The Michigan Daily highlighted the Queer Art Showcase, which officially kicked off U-M Pride Month on April 2. The event celebrated U-M LGBTQIA2S+ artists, their creations, and the narratives embedded within and among them. Expressive works adorned Trotter Multicultural Center, allowing students to navigate through a visual journey of queer experiences. It was not just an art exhibition, but a firm statement of recognition of the creativity and resilience within the community.

"The idea is just that queer people specifically need to have a space to share their artworks and feel like they have a voice," LSA freshman Noemie Durand, a member of Programming Board, told the Daily.

And if there is a "pulse" of U-M Pride Month, it's the vibration felt through the floors and walls of Palmer Commons as attendees entered Pride Prom. A Spectrum Center event led by the office's student Programming Board, Pride Prom was a chance for students to experience a classic high school milestone with a joyous, inclusive twist—some for the first time. With music, dancing, and no shortage of Pride-themed decorations, the center and Programming Board organizers ensured an unforgettable night where every student could be entirely themselves in a supportive and joyous environment.

Pride Prom was reported on by local media and also caught the attention of international LGBT outlets Advocate and PinkNews. In "University of Michigan hosts Pride Prom, and over 100 LGBTQ+ students attend," PinkNews' Gabriella Ferlita put the significance of events like that in clear terms. Ferlita specifically highlighted National School Climate Survey findings that 26.5% of high school students reported that their schools prevented students from attending a school event with a date of the same gender, while 71.5% said they avoid dances like prom often or frequently. The prom, much like other U-M Pride Month events, underscored the importance of carving out joyful spaces for the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

U-M Pride Month continues throughout April, presented by the Spectrum Center in close partnership with the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs, Rackham Graduate School, and Michigan Engineering's Office of Culture, Community, and Equity. Through a curated calendar of events centering community, intellectual engagement, creative expression, and sheer enjoyment, the month-long celebration ensures that the heartbeat of the LGBTQIA2S+ community is not only heard, but felt across campus well beyond April.



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