The University of Houston was one of the entries in Houston’s Pride parade which took place last Saturday, June 23, 2018. The entry included current students from the Spirit of Houston, UH Alumni, UH LGBTQ Resource Center, and members of the UH Student Government Association. Current UH LGBTQ Alumni Association President Kevin Hamby, ’06 presided over the float wearing his cougar-red sequin cowboy hat and presidential sash, representing the proud LGBTQ alumni that were also on the float and walking. Following the float in the parade were walkers of UH faculty, staff and students and members of the UH LGBTQ Resource Center. All participants were wearing t-shirts, custom designed by a graphic design alumnus, Aike Jamal.
So many leaders from the University were involved this year which elevated UH’s presence in the parade. Lorraine Schroeder and Jamie Gonzales from the LGBTQ Resource Center organized the students, and Moores School of Music Associate Dean David Bertman and Spirit of Houston Interim Director Cameron Kubos made sure we had the band, cheer, Cougar Dolls, and mascots. It was truly impressive!
The success of alumni engagement and visibility of the University was unprecedented as the UH LGBTQ Alumni Association moved into their 5th year of organizing this dynamic event for the University. The organization of the UH entry was conceived by Nick Brines, ‘92 and Hamby.
“This one event is near and dear to my heart, as I am able to put my energy and dedication into building visibility for our LGBTQ Cougars,” Hamby said.
History of Pride: In 1976, the University of Houston’s Gay Activist Alliance organized a Pride event to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion in New York City. Although it is sometimes dismissed as “just a march”, fliers and other promotional pieces clearly identified it as a parade. There were no marching bands, floats or banners, and most of the participants had been recruited during the previous year by pioneering Houston activist Ray Hill whom attended the University of Houston.
Houston’s Pride Parade is now the fourth-largest in the country with 150 entries an estimated attendance of 700,000 in 2017.