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Houston’s New Faces of Pride Organization Grand Marshal: Rice PRIDE

Rice PRIDE provides honorary membership to public college students affected by SB17.

Rice PRIDE Co-presidents Jorge Luis Arnez Gonzales and Cole Holladay

“The members of Rice Pride feel incredibly grateful to have our work formally recognized. This recognition empowers us to continue the work we do. Standing up to discriminatory policies like Texas Senate Bill 17 can feel like an insurmountable task, given how the legislation is designed to keep Queer people from living fulfilling lives. However, the response we have gotten motivates us to continue our activist efforts to foster safe spaces and community for everyone at Rice, in Texas, and beyond.”  

Known For:
Rice PRIDE is Rice University’s undergraduate student organization for LGBTQ students, known for creating a variety of community events ranging from outreach initiatives with organizations such as Legacy Community Health to events celebrating queer joy and culture—including drag shows, formals, and now a Pride parade around campus. Recently we have been known for providing honorary membership to students from public colleges and universities negatively impacted by Texas Senate Bill 17. Through an honorary membership, any student from a public college or university can access resources offered through Rice PRIDE’s Queer Resource Center and attend any events organized by Rice PRIDE. 

Intersectionality has been a top priority in Rice PRIDE’s agenda, especially since Rice PRIDE has historically been considered a predominantly white space among members of the Rice community. The organization works to ensure collaboration with other organizations on campus such as the Black Student Association, such that we can foster spaces that highlight the nature of intersectional issues within the queer community. Additionally, when organizing events where nonprofit organizations are invited to the table to engage with members of the Rice community, they work to ensure invitations are extended to nonprofit organizations like The Normal Anomaly Initiative to further connect students with intersecting identities. Most recently, they organized an interfaith event where people from multiple faiths and denominations could talk about their experiences being both queer and an active member of their faith.

Favorite Cause:
Rice PRIDE’s initiative that opened its doors through an honorary membership program to students from public colleges and universities affected by Senate Bill 17 showed the power students can have in impacting the wider community. It showed how Rice PRIDE could use their privilege as an organization at a private institution like Rice (where the effect of SB17 was minimal) to stand up against bigoted and unsubstantiated legislative policy. It was fulfilling to observe the power that students can have when they organize to fight for queer equality.

Dream to Change the World:
To continue leveraging community engagement and grassroots efforts to fight for equality for the queer community at Rice, in Houston, and beyond. Whether it is by standing up to harmful policy or by creating community-building events, Rice PRIDE hopes to foster spaces where they uphold queer equality and queer joy.

Ultimate Mission:
To create a space and environment at Rice, and in Houston and beyond, where they are able to achieve liberation for their community, ensuring that they address intersectional issues and achieve equality for all.

Favorite Hashtag:

What: Houston’s New Faces of Pride downtown parade
When: Saturday, June 22, 7:30–10:00 p.m.
Where: Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby Street
Info: tinyurl.com/38ta7f6s

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Brandon Wolf

Brandon Wolf is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.
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