MMSD Strives for Pride


Jashiya Maynard-Woods, Reporter

The end of the school year is here, and so is Pride month, which is celebrated to commemorate the stonewall riots that took place in 1969 in Manhattan, New York. Today, members of the LGBTQIA + community use the month to celebrate their history and the impact that LGBTQIA + people have made in the world. The Madison Metropolitan School District has made efforts to publicly celebrate Pride Month in past years, including sharing Coming Out videos from staff and flying a rainbow flag outside of the schools. There is also a district LGBTQIA + coordinator, who ensures celebrations are done safely. 

  “It’s so important to celebrate and recognize the LGBTQIA+ community,” District LGBTQIA+ coordinator John Peschl said. “MMSD is committed to providing all students access to an inclusive education that affirms all identities all year long.”

The idea that only certain people can celebrate Pride month is false; Pride is for any and everyone. One of East’s GSA club sponsors, Taylor Bailey, wants that fact to always be known.

“I try to make sure that everyone I know is aware that Pride is for anyone under the queer umbrella, including folks who are not as well represented such as ace/aro folks, or folks who ‘look like they’re in a straight relationship’ but are actually queer. I also want to make sure any events I end up planning are in spaces that are accessible,” Bailey said.

Pride month is supposed to be about inclusivity, so having available spaces for everyone ensures people feel welcome in that environment.

“I can’t wait to hear what East has planned. I will be awarding four educators with the 2023 LGBTQ+ Ally Educator of the Year award. I’m excited to help celebrate the amazing educators that support and uplift LGBTQIA+ staff, students, and families,” Peschl said.

While East doesn’t have any specific plans for the few days that school is in session for June, that shouldn’t stop you from going out and finding other fun ways to celebrate Pride.

“GSA doesn’t have specific plans, but GSAFE has fun Pride events planned, as well as the Goodman Center. Goodman Center is hosting Pride on 6/3 (I believe). There are lots of awesome local orgs who plan Pride stuff in the larger community. I would encourage folks to check out GSAFE, the Goodman Center and Briarpatch for Pride stuff,” Bailey said. 

The difference between how the district and individual schools handle Pride month is very apparent.

“The district could be doing so much more to support queer and trans students and staff. We need in-depth education about our community,” GSA Club sponsor Mars Subola said. “We need staff, especially staff that interact with students, to know that the expectation is that they support all students… including the queer ones. We need the district to take queer concerns and suggestions seriously. We need the district to stand up for us; not just talk the talk, but walk the walk.”

Pride month may not always be perfect, but MMSD and the East community work hard to make sure to make it as special as can be. 

“There is always more work and learning that can be done to help LGBTQ+ students, staff, and families feel seen, loved, cared for, and respected,” Peschl said. “I am proud of the work MMSD has done and I am committed to continuing the work of ensuring all MMSD schools are welcoming schools.”