UWO holds LGBTQ Ally March

Jessica Johnson

UW Oshkosh held its sixth annual Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Ally March on April 15 where students, parents, faculty and members of the community gathered together to support the LGBTQ community. Director of the LGBTQ Resource Center Liz Cannon said the march is a chance to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, and a time to think about what it means to an ally. “I’ve gotten to the point where I’m starting to see the word ally as a verb rather than a noun,” Cannon said. “Just naming oneself as an ally may not have the effect one wants to have, one has to be an active ally for the effect to be felt.” Cannon said the march acknowledges its allies and sends a positive message to those in the community. “I think part of the message is thank you for the support and progress that has happened on this campus,” Cannon said. “Another part is over the years more students are coming to campus who identify as LGBTQ+, and who feel safe being out and identifying as LGBTQ+.” Mimi Jackson, an intern at the LGBTQ Resource Center, said the march is a way to show there is no reason to be afraid of negative attention. “Everyone is here to support those in the LGBTQ community no matter what,” Jackson said. “We’re family and we’re all one. Also that we’re strong and are not going to let little insecurities hold us back from living.” According to UWO graduate student Brittany Magrady, the LGBTQ Ally March is a chance to strive for inclusivity and excellence. “The march is all about involving allies, whether it be straight or LGBTQ allies, and also those who are involved in the community,” Magrady said. “This wonderful group is full of love and are marching to show solidarity.” Magrady also said this event is not just about rights, but opening the floor to acceptance. “Acceptance and intergrading different levels of identities, including straight allies, is a great way to open to doors to the community, and as a bisexual member of the community I think that is wonderful,” Magrady said. Garrett Denning, a UWO senior, said having a strong community sends an important message. “The biggest message is we support each other and we create a dialogue,” Denning said. “We may disagree on somethings and might have some challenges along the way, but we are going to fight this fight together.” McKenzie Valenta, a UWO junior said this march really matters to the campus. “It’s one way for us to show our pride and support, and to give recognition to everyone in the community who all came together,” Valenta said. “This march really gets people excited and puts the cause out there.” Denning said the LGBTQ Ally March is a day he looks forward to every year. “This is the one day when I can come out in a flag and rainbow gear and say this is who I am,” Denning said. “Connecting with people and building that bridge with them is so wonderful, and is why I love the march.”