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Pride Convocation brings campus LGBTQ community together

The University of New Mexico LGBTQ Resource Center’s 13th annual Pride Convocation honored graduates and awardees on Friday, May 3.

Attendees and speakers paraded into the Honors College Forum to Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul” to begin the evening’s festivities.

The celebration included speeches from LGBTQRC Director Frankie Flores, UNM President Garnett Stokes and UNM Division for Equity and Inclusion President Assata Zerai.

Madison Otero, UNM senior and co-chair of Juniper Reimagined – UNM’s Queer and Trans student alliance – served as the student speaker for the event. In her speech, she thanked the center and spoke to her fellow graduates about what to hold on to and what to let go.

“We can all let go of regrets and obligations, even if doing so is hard, and we can hold on to the lessons we’ve learned and the community that supported us,” Otero said.

In her speech, Zerai spoke about identifying and defining power, and the forging of new relationships, quoting American writer and professor Audre Lorde.

“I can’t wait to see the new ways of relating that you will create, the new languages that you will create as well as the social change you will bring about,” Zerai said. “Here’s to your revolution.”

Flores emphasized the strength of this year’s graduating class, which began during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. They also talked about living in one’s whole self and community.

“We are being told to make ourselves small and I want to remind you all to be big,” Flores said. “Be big in your ideas, in your movements, in your convictions and, most importantly, in your love.”

Stokes spoke about the ongoing efforts of the LGBTQRC, as well as recognizing Juniper Reimagined, other student groups like the UNM Association of Jotería Arts, Activism and Scholarship and spACE.

“Thank you for your kindness and compassion, (and) your support for each other. You have absolutely made this university a better place – a brighter place,” Stokes said to the graduates.

Four awards were given during the convocation. The Stonewall Legacy Award is given to Queer and Trans individuals on campus who have contributed to the UNM LGBTQ community. This year’s Stonewall Legacy Awards were given to Fabián Armijo, UNM Hospital’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Executive Director and Francisco Galarte, an associate professor of American studies.

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The Dr. Jozi De Leon Advocate Award is given to non-Trans and Queer advocates on campus. It is named for Leon, who worked with students to create the LGBTQRC. These awards were given to LoboRESPECT director Lisa Lindquist and Student Activities Center director Ryan Lindquist.

Graduates received a cord – still available at the LGBTQRC – and a certificate of congratulations as part of the festivities. Awardees were given a turkey feather boa in lieu of an award plaque. Turkey feather boas are higher quality than standard chicken feather boas, according to Flores.

“And remember, you are not chicken feathers, you are turkey feathers,” Flores said.

The event celebrates Trans and Queer students as well as allies, Flores said.

The event did not require a cap and gown or other dress code.

“We have had students who have come in drag, we have had students come dressed in their affirmed identity for the first time ever,” Flores said.

Otero was honored to speak at the event, she said, because she attributes much of her personal growth to time spent with the center.

“Being able to have this space to celebrate all of our achievements and not having to diminish any part of my identity is really special,” Otero said.

Marcela Johnson is a beat reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @DailyLobo.

Marcela Johnson

 Marcela Johnson is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo, and the editor-in-chief of Limina: UNM Nonfiction Review.  

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