Story and photo by Darlene Maes/Viking/Staff/@dawlean

Students from LBCC’s Queer Space marched in the Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, May 21.

Queer Space marched alongside Pasifika Pride, a pacific islander organization with a mission of being a “collaborative effort of Pacific Islander community organizations, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender, queer and questioning organizations, health providers and the community-at-large that address LGBTQIA community issues and cultural pride,” according to Pasifika Pride’s website.

Pasifika Pride and Queer Space were welcomed to participate at the Long Beach Pride Parade among hundreds of attendees and groups such as banks, businesses, healthcare providers and other organizations.

Tanuoma’aleu Ah You or Tanu, Pasifika PRIDE steering committee member and founder of the non-profit Project ALOFA, described the importance of their participation in the parade. He said, “It is an honor any time we can share our voices collectively. We were honored to have our Queer Space members join us and they added so much gender expression and gender fluidity to our contingency. They were the perfect ambassadors to march with Pasifika PRIDE.”

Nina Vasquez, psychology major and resource coordinator for Queer Space, participated in the parade and said, “I think it’s awesome. Being able to have this day we get to celebrate the things that make us part of the queer community.” Vasquez as well as other members of Queer Space participated in a day filled with music, food, shows and acceptance.

Karen Torres, 22, an art major and the creative coordinator for Queer Space, said “It’s my first time being in the parade, it’s amazing. There are different subsets of the LGBT community and there is no judgment here.”

Pasifika PRIDE has contributed to other events aside from the parade. Ah You detailed what Pasifika has done to inform the community of their organization. “We were sponsored by Long Beach Pride Week. In addition we had our inaugural Pasifika PRIDE summit at LBCC’s LAC campus on May 19 and 20.”

LBCC was represented not only by the partnership of Pasifika and Queer Space but the college as well. LBCC had their own decorated truck that drove through the parade filled with supporting students and our very own Viking mascot, Ole.

Aside from Torres and Vazquez, other students from Queer Space marched alongside Pasifika to show support. Kammie Rose, 21, double major in biology and nursing and the Queer Space fundraising coordinator, joined her fellow members who carried signs and wished “Happy Pride” to the spectators who watched the parade.

Although she was unable to attend the Parade, Celene Reyes, 27, psychology major and president of Queer Space expressed her gratitude for the community and said “Queer Space’s involvement in the parade is exciting! It also makes me very proud to be part of a group at LBCC that is recognized by the community. This is the second year Queer Space has been a part of the LB Pride Parade. We’re actually just wrapping up our second year as a club and hope to continue participating in Pride in the years to come.”