New College celebrated its second student-led Pride Festival on Nov. 4, marking a successful student commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive community for all. The festival took place in the Nook and featured performances by local musical artists SUPERBITCH and The Tilt, free food and sweet treats. Free ‘goodies’ were offered to students including pride stickers, pins and flags courtesy of the Pride table and organizations affiliated with supporting and uplifting LGBTQ+ rights for youths and adults. Student vendors and clubs were also able to sign up for tables to sell art, jewelry, clothes and other handmade and curated items.
The event came together through the efforts of New College students Gabriella Batista, Halle Belden, Penelope Donetti, Dayris Manon, Colin Jefferis and funding provided by the New College Student Alliance (NCSA) and the Novo Collegian Alliance (NCA). Thesis student and Pride host Gabriella Batista told the Catalyst that the root of what they hoped to accomplish with the festival was for students to come together and have fun and express queer joy as resistance.
“It’s not just New College that has been experiencing a lot of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments, it’s across the state, and a lot of people at NCF are originally Florida residents,” Batista said. “There’s so much that has been going on in the state [and] in the Legislature, so having the community exist and events like these that bring us together to just have a good time and relish in a moment of queer joy and togetherness.”
For some students, being at Pride was key to keeping a sense of community strong. Third year Penelope Donetti told the Catalyst that for her, Pride is where “I feel the most supported to sell my art and can express myself in an environment I know is safe.”
New College students could previously access transgender healthcare resources through the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus, but as of the 2022 spring semester, these resources are no longer available. On behalf of the NCSA and as NCSA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Co-chairs, third year Devyn Rolls and thesis student Jasmine Doyle registered a table to sell baked goods in order to raise money for a gender-affirming care fund for New College students. Both students were also uplifting Queery, a New College club that Rolls said has been “left behind” after the takeover.
Organizations present included Planned Parenthood, Equality Florida, Stonewall Democratic Caucus of Sarasota, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), First Congregational United Church of Christ and Saint Andrew United Church of Christ. Each organization works to promote inclusivity and support through their respective programs, and those present came out in support of LGBTQ+ students at New College.