Some of the interns at the Slay Queen fashion show

In Spring 2022, 20 students took CSI 4628, Klein College of Media and Communications' class all about the history of the Pride movement and that gives students the opportunity to intern for the New York City Pride March.

The class, which is taught by Director of Undergraduate and Communication Studies Scott Gratson (he/him), ran for the second half of the spring semester, but won't truly end until after NYC Pride on June 26th, 2022. At the march, Temple University students will volunteer with spectator services, of which Gratson is the captain, and they will walk in the march down 5th Avenue and 8th Street.

The class began by reviewing a cumulative history of Pride. Starting with Stonewall, they studied documentaries and texts in order to examine the ways in which LGBTQ+ history has been translated over the years. 

One important distinction students learn is why it is called a pride march rather than a parade. "It's a march, it's not a parade. You don't have a parade until you're celebrating and we still have a long, long way to go before we can celebrate full equality," Gratson said in an earlier interview.

Rising junior Taylor Addison (she/her) said this part of the course challenged her and her peers' mindset and prepared them for the second half of the course where they learned about how they will be involved in NYC Pride.

As interns with spectator services, the students will arrive in NYC at 6 a.m. and work at one of three stands to ensure that the crowd has a good time and the march runs efficiently.

In addition to the students that took the course, other parts of the Temple community have been involved with this years' involvement in NYC Pride. Students who previously took the course or haven't yet but still wanted to participate in the march are welcome to join, and Gratson has been working with Latinx Media Association to translate media instructions for the march into Spanish.

Unfortunately, not all who took the course will be able to attend the march. Senior Miyalani Wagner (she/her) is currently finishing up her last few credits at Temple Rome and will be there for the whole summer. As an alternate project, Wagner put on the Slay Queen fashion show on April 21, 2022 in collaboration with Thrift and Flop and LGBTQ+ organizations on campus. 

"The main takeaway was that there IS a community at Temple who loves you no matter who you are, you just need to find your people," Wagner wrote about the event. She is glad that she got to leave her mark at Temple with such a fun and impactful event.

"It was a great day filled with a lot of celebration and we were also excited because it was building up anticipation to the actual pride march coming up in June," Addison said. She is one of many students who got up and walked the runway and, much to Gratson's surprise, started by putting her leg behind her head while standing.

"I have never been more proud - in all meanings of the word - of the students who are taking part in this course as we return to an in person pride in all of its glory and energy and hope for the future," Gratson said.

Wagner and Addison both encourage other students to take the Pride course no matter what their background is. Wagner noted that it is a great way to learn about history, and be a part of it, at the same time.

The theme of this year's march is "Unapologetically Us," and Addison is excited for her, her peers and 70,000 other attendees to show what that really means in New York on June 26.

"It's really great that so many people have the opportunity to celebrate love together again," Addison said.