Dallas College celebrates Pride

Students and faculty members of Dallas College march through Fair Park at the Pride Parade in Dallas, Texas on June 5.

CARLOS GUZMAN, Managing Editor

LGBT Employee Resource Group co-chair Chris Schlarb marched with 50 Dallas College affiliates in a pride parade on June 5 in Fair Park.

According to Schlarb, the figure is a new record for Dallas College’s participation at the parade. This year, they led the arrangements for Dallas College’s attendance.

“For our students, this is showing we’re proud of our LGBT community,” Schlarb said. “We are here to support them in their educational endeavors and career aspirations.”

Students and faculty marched throughout Fair Park, waving rainbow flags and expressing support for the LGBT community – all while receiving cheers from attendees on the sidelines.

“Pride, for me, is celebrating being comfortable with who you are,” Schlarb said. “It’s celebrating your identity.”

Schlarb runs the department alongside LGBT ERG co-chair Alan Villafauna. Their mission is to promote LGBT inclusivity at Dallas College.

“It’s important we sponsor events like this for all students,” Villafauna said. “We have to represent the community as a whole.”

Schlarb said Dallas College sponsored their organization for a spot in the parade.

“This event means we stand by [LGBT individuals],” Villafauna said. “Our society is going through an interesting transition, and a lot of students don’t feel represented. We’re here to ensure everyone is represented today.”

In light of Texas passing legislation targeting LGBT individuals, Dallas College administration highlighted its support for the LGBT community by scheduling Pride Month-inspired events and sending supportive emails to students.

Experimental psychology major Leonardo Lyall marched in their first pride parade, glad to be part of a college that supports his chosen name.

“[Pride] is being able to be proud of Dallas College’s progressiveness compared to other colleges,” Lyle said.

Regardless of the uncertain legal situation for LGBT individuals, students like Leonardo said they were overjoyed to march in a pride parade.

“I want to show everyone it’s okay to be yourself, even if you’re shy like me,” said teaching major David Cruz.

Numerous students appreciated Dallas College’s advocacy for the LGBT community but hopes to see more.

Even with record turnout, Schlarb wants to grow the college’s parade presence in the coming years, even requesting a parade float for next year.

English Chair Angie Cook attended the parade, and she thinks Dallas College could do more to support its appearance at pride.

“I want to see more of Dallas College here next year,” Cook said. “I want to see presidents, more faculty and students.”

Cook assists faculty with classes, and she believes part of that involves supporting LGBT individuals.

“I think this is who we are,” Cook said. “We are a community college. . .this is something representative of students and faculty.”

As a transgender employee, Schlarb values the college’s participation in pride parades.

Schlarb believes attending the parade can be an “exhilarating” experience, helping individuals embrace their identity, especially as a member of Dallas College.

“I’m just really proud that, every year, it gets bigger,” Schlarb said. “I’m glad to be part of an institution that supports our LGBT community.”