Champlain Students March at Vermont Pride

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Champlain Students March at Vermont Pride

Photo provided by Trish DeRocher

Photo provided by Trish DeRocher

Photo provided by Trish DeRocher

Photo provided by Trish DeRocher

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“Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Queerphobia’s got to go!” Champlain College students chanted as they marched down Church Street. Pride flags waved from the sides of buildings. Spectators wrapped in flags and rainbow attire smiled and chanted with the students.

Jadah Bearden, a second-year student at Champlain College, is one of the many students who marched in Sunday’s parade. “Vermont Pride is special in the sense that we are all such a close, tight-knit community,” Bearden said, “Because Burlington is predominantly a college town, it is full of queer folks my age. I feel so seen and represented.”

Include+, Champlain’s club for members and allies of the LGBT community, also marched at the event. “[We] participate in Pride as a way to showcase visibility in the community and to be a part of the larger LGBTQ+ community here in Vermont,” said Jayy Covert, the student leader of the club. 

After the parade, hundreds of attendees ventured to Battery Park, where food trucks, support groups, and various organizations gathered to keep the festivities alive. Hannaford’s supermarket had a stand that offered free apples, bananas, and granola bars. At the center of the excitement, drag queens and singers performed on stage. 

For those who’ve been to Pride in other states, Vermont Pride can be very different. “I usually go to Pride in my hometown of Houston, Texas.” Bearden says, “While Houston’s Pride is so much bigger than Burlington’s Pride, it is also full of stupid, capitalistic corporations. It’s really refreshing that Burlington’s Pride is completely grassroots funded.”

Like any annual event, Pride can be an energizing celebration for the community. Bearden explains, “Pride means revolution. It is a year-long celebration. It is visceral. It is my identity. It is my favorite part of myself. It’s my favorite time of the year.”