Sun Devils reflect on Pride Month 2020

July 22, 2020

With another successful Pride Month now complete, ASU student leaders reflected on the importance of pride and why it is essential to emphasize how much this month celebrates diversity, inclusion and belonging, both on campus and in the lives of fellow Sun Devils.

While the monthlong celebration, presented annually during the month of June, was different this year because of social distancing, LGBTQIA+ leaders at ASU closed out Pride Month by sharing what it means to them and what they hope for the future of ASU.

Nina Dagaev is a marketing major heading into her third year. During her time at ASU she has been involved with Gamma Rho Lambda and the Rainbow Coalition

ASU student holds up a pride flag walking on train tracks

Gage Keranen of ASU's Rainbow Coalition

The Rainbow Coalition is a group of LGBTQIA+ student organizations at Arizona State University. The coalition and the member groups host town halls, community events, pride planning committees and pride events. They also offer resources, including books, flyers and media. 

Dagaev knew a few people in Gamma Rho Lambda and was interested in joining because she wanted to find an inclusive LGBTQIA+ community on campus that was also a part of Greek Life

Not only did Dagaev find that community, but she also found a job with the Rainbow Coalition after she saw they were looking for a media relations facilitator and figured she should apply. 

“Pride month means being able to be authentically myself and thinking about all those before me who made it possible. I’m so grateful for those who fought hard for my rights and will fight just as hard to do the same for others.”

Dagaev believes that ASU has done a good job at working toward being a more inclusive community, but she thinks that the LGBTQIA+ community on campus could also benefit from a bit more light being shed on them. 

 “Showing that we exist and hearing about our experiences are definitely ways that will help others understand the community,” Dagaev said.

Gage Keranen, the facilitator of programming for the Rainbow Coalition, agrees with Dagaev. 

Keranen is a conservation biology and film production major heading into his final year. He is involved with TransFam at ASU, Barrett LGBTQ+ Club, Qmunity and two developing groups.

Keranen looked into SunDevilSync when he first arrived at ASU and became a member with as many ASU LGBTQ+ orgs as he could. 

“It was very important to me to find a support circle and others like me.”

He also attended Rainbow Welcome and met many of these organizations in person. 

Although Pride month observances were different this year, Keranen still found a way to celebrate. He had a Pride photo shoot with his partner, helped with the Rainbow Coalition’s pride campaign on social media and focused on activism. 

“For me, Pride represents a choice to embrace authenticity over comfort. Pride is radical and it always has been.” 

To get involved with the Rainbow Coalition you can follow them on Instagram or check out their website. You can also become a member on SunDevilSync

For ASU and beyond to become a more inclusive community, Keranen said there are everyday things that the community can do to help.

“I think that it needs to be encouraged that our staff and faculty normalize the use of pronouns in introductions, regardless of whether or not they are LGBTQ+. This is perhaps the easiest thing people can do to be allies for our trans and GNC [gender nonconforming] students,” Keranen said.