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Visibility and awareness: ‘Take Back Pride’ marches through campus

Katie Bradham, Photo Editor

This event was sparked in response to recent statements from Clemson College Republicans condemning the LGBT community. 

Chants of “trans lives matter” and “gay lives matter” echoed throughout campus on Thursday evening during a “Take Back Pride” march, carried out in response to a controversial statements by Clemson College Republicans this week.  

Joining and leading the march was the Tiger mascot and the Cub, a notable symbol of Clemson support.

“Today we march in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community at Clemson,” the LGBTQIA+ Student Coalition said in a statement. “We stand on the steps of Sikes, united, to demand accountability.” 

The coalition is composed of over a dozen student organizations, including It’s On Us, Clemson NAACP, student government’s Council of Diversity Affairs and Clemson College Democrats. 

The group presented three major demands for the march: a statement from the Clemson University administration condemning transphobia and homophobia, revisions to the student code of conduct and repercussions for the Clemson College Republicans.

Proposed revisions to the student code of conduct are to establish a task force of LGBTQ students to prevent and advise on any future incidents. The coalition also requests that digital posts and language are treated as equivalent to in-person interactions.

The group’s demand for repercussions may be difficult, as the University has already announced that the posts may be considered free speech.

“What they’ve done doesn’t technically violate the Code of Conduct, so we’d like them to not only revise it but to revise it with LGBT+ students in the room to make sure that it’s intentional and actually does what we are hoping to do,” said Matthew Jordan, a senior sociology major and one of the event organizers. 

“We’re here to show that we are Clemson and we make up just as valuable a part of this campus as any other person with any other identity.”

The event drew a huge crowd with over 800 in attendance, according to the event’s organizers. The march began at Sikes Hall, moved through Core Campus and ended in front of the Brooks Center.

“We’re here to show that we are Clemson and we make up just as valuable a part of this campus as any other person with any other identity. Mainly visibility and awareness is why we/I am here,” said Christian Warhola, a senior biological science major.

As the crowd grew, several organizers and speakers alike spoke to those gathered from the Sikes Hall steps.  

“If Clemson wants to advertise itself as a University working toward a more inclusive and diverse campus, then the administration must take concrete actions to ensure that statement is true,” said Dev Bryant, a sophomore computer information systems major.

University officials and student body president Malik Balogun declined to comment during the event.

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