PRIDE! Kent, Kent State’s oldest LGBTQ organization, announced it will host the Rainbow Squirrel Festival, Kent’s first-ever Pride festival in October. 

In the past, the organization discussed putting on a Pride festival, but the ideas never followed through, said Jacob Dudley, senior applied conflict management major and president of PRIDE! Kent.

The festival was formed with help from PRIDE! Kent and members of the Kent community. The organization is also receiving help from organizations outside of the Kent area, said AJ Leu the faculty advisor for PRIDE! Kent. 

“Reaching out to organizations outside of Kent, like Equality Ohio, TransOhio and CANAPI will help because of PRIDE! Kent can’t do it all,” Leu said.

The organization chose to hold the festival in October because it is LGBTQ History Month, rather than holding the festival during Pride Month in June.

It wasn’t a difficult decision, but it was one that needed discussing. Kent State’s population decreases during the summer and the closest pride is in Akron, Dudley said. 

“Some students go to one close to where they live but might not be comfortable going to that because they aren’t out and comfortable,” Dudley said. 

Having a Pride festival brings the community together to celebrate without worries, Leu said. 

“Where it’s nothing but rainbows and glitter and drag queens and awesomeness and all this fun and you don’t have to worry about ‘Oh no I’m the queer person in this space, I’m the trans person in this space.’ Everybody is the queer and trans person in the space,” Leu said. “It’s a unique opportunity.”

Autumn Rietzel covers student life. Contact her at arietzel@kent.edu.

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