Be it fierce, be it Pierce; have pride

Drag queens and kings frolic through the aisles, poets recite original pieces and singer’s put a twist on popular songs during the Fierce Pierce Pride event hosted by the Queer Brahma Collective and Associated Students Organization.

The eight hour event was filled with music, food and activities from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., allowing people to come and go throughout the day. The club had workshops, an open mic, a resource fair and a keynote speaker as well as a drag show and a queer prom to end the event.

The president of the Queer Brahma Collective, Gabrielle Castleberry-Gordon said a lot of time and hard work went into preparing for the event.

“Everyone seems to be feeling like themselves. I wish my club could be like this every day, but it’s just one day, so I’m just really happy,” Castleberry said.

The event was funded by ASO. Castleberry said it was helpful to have some food for their guests, which made the event better.

“I think it was successful. People keep telling me they had fun. It wasn’t a huge turnout, but I think we got everything we needed to see,” Castleberry-Gordon said. “At least there’s an interest in things like this on campus.”

Before the keynote speaker, a Pierce College ASL student shared a poem with the crowd about her journey coming out and how she didn’t have the support of many people. The crowd applauded after she recited her poem titled, “She is Me.”

Belle Jackson, who deals with social anxiety, said it was difficult to speak in front of the crowd but she wanted to use her voice speak for others who are scared of not being accepted.

“To go up in front of people is very nerve racking, but I promised my friend that I would tell everybody my story because everybody needs to know they’re loved,” Jackson said.

The keynote speaker Edxie Betts is a transgender woman who shared her experience as a public speaker and activist with the crowd.

Betts told her story of being arrested, put in jail and only having a song to help her cope with the reality she was living in.

“All men prisons aren’t very fun when you’re a transgender person,” Betts said.

Betts also sang her version of Pretty Hurts by Beyoncé, which she titled “Poverty Hurts.”

She said that was the song she sang to herself when she was in jail. She changed the lyrics, so they read “poverty hurts, they shine the light on whatever’s worse.”

During her speech, Betts discussed politics, LGBTQ members of color and their daily struggles to fit into society. Betts also addressed consent.

Betts said consent isn’t broad enough to adequately apply to the LGBTQ community, because they aren’t given the opportunity to consent to things like being born male or female and not fitting into that person.

“Consent is really important to stew and marinate on, because I think it’s important that everyone’s giving consent individually and personally,” Betts said. “We’re not getting explicit consent for other things we’re having to do, and I think we should.”

A Brahma Queer Collective Club member, Gale-Matthias Case said they enjoyed the keynote speaker because they spoke about the things that affect their community like resistance.

“It was really cool for me to have the opportunity to hear that, and for them to speak so eloquently on it,” Case said. “I’m sure if it were me I would’ve been a stuttering mess up there.”

Although Castleberry was satisfied with the number of attendants, she said she hopes to see more people come to the event next year.

“It’s okay if you’re not out or if you’re taking your time, if you’re questioning or if you’re fluid. It’s all about finding yourself and what works for you and how you are,” Castleberry said.