In Pride Week, McDaniel students mark diversity, honor Orlando club victims

Rosa Robertson and Anna Eckard were handing out different colored ribbons as students walked into the dining hall at McDaniel College.

The two students are part of the college's student-led Gender and Sexuality Alliance, formerly known as Allies. They were handing out ribbons and bracelets, as well as facepainting, as part of the college's Pride Week.


It was the last event of the week, and Robertson, a sophomore, said that they wanted to do something a little more laid-back because students were getting ready to go on fall break.

The different ribbons each represented a flag within the LGBTQ+ community.

After a summer of meetings, CCPS continues to move forward with updating Title IX-related policies.

There was the well-known rainbow flag, which represents people who are gay and lesbian. Then there were pink, purple and blue flags for those who identify as bisexual; pink, blue and white flags for those who identify as transgender; and black and white flags for those who identify as heterosexual. There were also flags for people who identify as intersex, agender, genderqueer, genderfluid, nonbinary, a romantic, demisexual, asexual, polysexual and pansexual.

Robertson said the response to the tabling was good Friday. Students would come by and ask if they could take a flag and start conversations as people would ask about the different flags, Eckard, a senior, said.

"I think a lot of people are really curious," Eckard said.

Friday's event was the fifth the organization helped put on during the week.

As part of the week, there was a chance for people to write about being queer, a coming out panel, a vigil for Orlando Pulse victims and a bingo night. The entire week was centered around National Coming Out Day on Tuesday, she said.

Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion José Luis Moreno, who organized Tuesday's coming out panel, said that coming out is not a one-time thing, but instead something people have to do often. Members of the panel included students, faculty and some of Moreno's colleagues from other colleges, and they talked about their experiences with coming out.


"It's just to show that the school is inclusive in terms of whether it is race, gender or sexual identity," he said.

Robertson and Eckard also have their own coming out stories. Both identify as bisexual. While Robertson has come out to her parents and close friends, she said that she isn't out with everyone.

"But here I decided to start by being out, and if people decide to accept me, great," Robertson said.

She said her experience at McDaniel has been mostly positive. Prior to coming to the college, she said, she was warned about Carroll County's conservative reputation.

Moreno said it's important to share information about the LGBTQ+ community on campus as well as off. While he focuses on creating a safe environment at the college, he said that he also invites the community to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.

"It's just about educating people about it," he said. "We try to dispel myths."