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The Telescope

The Telescope

Highlights of Palomar’s Queer Community in Action Festival

Multiple+pride+flags+decorated+the+booths+at+the+Student+Union.+Photo+credit%3A+Monica+Garcia
Multiple pride flags decorated the booths at the Student Union. Photo credit: Monica Garcia

SAN MARCOS — The sun was not the only thing lighting up the Student Union this week as Palomar’s Queer Community in Action Festival stole the show. The pride flag was raised on the flagpole over the students circling drag performers and festivities.

The event was held on May 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the Student Union. Students enjoyed free taco plates and gifts from clubs like Umoja, the Gender and Women’s Studies club, the Pride Center, GEAR UP, and Palomar’s literary journal, Bravura, to name a few. Special drag queen performances were held as well as picture and video opportunities with guest performers.

Umoja club handed out free flowers for students attending the pride event. Photo credit: Monica Garcia

“When I first came to the event, I was honestly very optimistic and hopeful. I already knew that the whole day was going to be filled with love and positivity. And so far everything has been exactly that,” said Janelle Harvey, Umoja club president and Student Peer Mentor with the Office for Student Success.

The Umoja booth was decorated with informative flyers and colorful flower bouquets to be distributed for students. Student representatives decorated their faces with pride stickers, paint, and pride pins on their clothing.

“The Umoja community being here at this event represents our queer members that are also part of the community,” said Harvey, looking over the festivities. “It gives them a little bit more visibility and knowledge that we’re here on campus and that we do have their back as much as anybody else.”

“The high school where I came from, they never did anything like this…our principal was extremely homophobic,” said Sarah McDowell, second semester freshman.

McDowell explained her sense of comfort in experiencing the festival’s successful turnout. As a lesbian who is fairly new to the college experience, she felt relief in finding community and helpful resources for her and other queer students on campus.

The Student Union was lined up with booths and decorations for Palomar’s Queer Community in Action festival. Photo credit: Monica Garcia

Bravura also had a booth to present their published ‘Bravura 2023’ student journal filled with compelling writing pieces and artwork. In addition, members of The Telescope, Palomar’s student newspaper, distributed their spring issue of the IMPACT magazine to students.

The turnout to the event was a mere reflection of the season – sunny, radiant, with a blissful taste of an approaching summer. Nearly hundreds of students showed up throughout the festival’s run-time before and after classes. Given that the 2024 spring semester is approaching its end, students wandered the heart of Palomar with the thought of a very-much anticipated break.

Besides student engagement, faculty and staff also played a significant role in enhancing the experience for Palomar’s queer community and allies alike.

“It was very welcoming, [and] inviting to everyone. To administrators, faculty, staff, students, definitely. You felt the community come together and just enjoy the event and for what it stands for,” said Elizabeth Alvarado, GEAR UP Site Coordinator and Communications Officer of the Council of Classified Employees.

Alvarado and other GEAR UP staff stood in line, ready for a free taco plate amongst an anticipating crowd. The heat from the sun and the smell of carne asada filled the air. Aguas frescas sat temptingly on the tables, adding to the commotion and excitement.

“I think what we’ll take away is a message that…love is love,” said Alvarado. As a message to all students, she hopes they aren’t “afraid of who they are, and here on campus, they’re at home. And that they’re continuing to be supported.”

For more information on Palomar’s upcoming Pride Center events, click here.

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Highlights of Palomar’s Queer Community in Action Festival