Queer Fest Celebrates LGBTQ+ Community with Annual Pride Walk, New Events


The Office of LGBTQ+ Initiatives held its annual Queer Fest celebration during the week of Mar. 27 through Mar. 31. The event is a long-lasting Colgate University tradition that works to encourage allyship and unity within the LGBTQ+ community. The celebration included the second annual Pride Walk with the help of Colgate’s Pep Band, which took place on Mar. 29.

Dr. Lyosha Gorshkov, Director of LGBTQ+ Initiatives, explained how Queer Fest activities have evolved at Colgate throughout the years.

“Last year we revisited the concept of Queer Fest and launched new initiatives, such as the Pride Walk,” Gorshkov said. “Besides that, we usually have a concert and various workshops in collaboration with campus partners.”

The workshops included “Queer* Paths to Success” and “Crafting Queer* Futures,” supported by Career Services. The Office of LGBTQ+ Initiatives also hosted a poster-making event before the Pride Walk.

The Pride Walk began at the Center for Women’s Studies, looped through the residential dorms and ended at the Rainbow Room — found in the lower levels of the Bryan Complex. First-year Max Shah, who drums for the Pep Band, found the Pride Walk to be a fun and impactful way to support the LGBTQ+ community.

“Not only did I enjoy the Pride Walk because we got to play music across campus, but it was also a great way to connect with the community,” Shah said. “The band was given ribbons, buttons, stickers, and flags that made the event feel very inclusive and fun. Since a significant number of Pep Band members identify themselves on the spectrum of LGBTQ+, I feel as if the pride walk meant a lot for the group.”

First-year Alisha Greenstein, also a part of Colgate’s Pep Band, found Queer Fest to be slightly different from the typical sporting events at which the band plays. Participating in the Pride Walk, she said, contributed to her sense of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.

“It was really rewarding to play at Queer Fest […] I think everyone felt like we truly served a bigger purpose than ourselves, which is a nice change from the more simple spreading of cheer at the athletic events we play at,” Greenstein said.

Not only did Greenstein enjoy the Pride Walk portion of the Queer Fest, but she also found the other activities to be equally entertaining and supportive.

“I was delighted to see the excitement that the Queer Fest brought to its attendees,” Greenstein said. “The activities seemed like a good time, and everyone I interacted with was happy to be there. It definitely fostered spirit for the LGBTQ+ community.” 

Gorshkov acknowledged that the University must continue to make progress in terms of its support for LGBTQ+ students.

“We still have a long journey to take and a lot of challenges to face, but we are doing it with patience, optimism, and an open heart,” Gorshkov said. “Every person who has doubts, questions or misconceptions should pause, reflect and educate themselves – thankfully, we offer a lot of opportunities to do that.”

Still, Gorshkov agreed that events such as the Queer Fest promote recognition of the LGBTQ+ community and credits student dedication as the primary source of LGBTQ+ inclusion at Colgate.

Queer Fest is one of the tools to bring awareness and celebrate LGBTQ+ community and allies,” Gorshkov said. “But the work on fostering support and solidarity is not limited to the Queer Fest. This work is 24/7, 365 days a year — around the clock. I am grateful to campus partners — students, staff, faculty — who are taking this path with the Office and showing constant support in various ways.”