An exciting week of events is planned to lead Mississippi State University into Starkville Pride 2019. Primarily hosted by the LGBTQ+ Union, these various activities are open to everyone at MSU.

Running from Monday to Thursday across campus, these events offer plenty of ways to show support for sexual preferences and gender identity. Co-hosted by other campus organizations, the level of inclusion matches the themes of this yearly celebration.

LGBTQ+ Union’s mission is to promote diversity and inclusion to marginalized communities. They strive to provide students with an environment in which they can feel comfortable.

Their typical bi-weekly meetings and Brown Bag sessions are not the focus of this week’s events. Instead, they are dedicated to support this year’s Starkville Pride Weekend.

Months of difficult volunteer work have gone into this plan. LGBTQ+ Union hopes all attendees enjoy themselves and show their support.

"Starkville Pride fosters a real sense of community between people in the Starkville area and MSU students," said Brianna Brown, LGBTQ+ Union council member and MSU architecture senior. "It can be incredibly isolating being an LGBTQ+ student. These events really help them build community ties and celebrate their identity."

This Monday featured Pups for Pride with Small Mercies Animal Rescue at 10 a.m. on the Drill Field. Drag Queen Bingo was also hosted in support with MSU’s Student Association at 7 p.m. in the Union Dawghouse.

Tuesday offers a flower sale by the Horticulture Club at 10 a.m. on the Drill Field.

In partnership with the Residence Hall Association, "Love Simon," the 2018 film will be screened at 7 p.m. in the Taylor Auditorium.

MSU Spectrum will host Big Gay Field Day Wednesday. Starting at 10 a.m., they will offer various activities and games until 4 p.m.

Wednesday evening,  Safe Zone Advisory Board will host a queer religion panel at 5 p.m. in Fowlkes Auditorium.

Thursday is the final day of campus events, but holds significant support from other organizations. A multicultural bake sale will begin at 10 a.m. on the Drill Field. The International Student Advisory Board, Latino Student Association and Black Student Association will attend.

Finally, an open mic night will start at 7 p.m. in Lee Hall. It will feature performances from The Streetcar, Lab Rats Comedy and MSU’s Writing Center.

Following this week’s campus events will be Starkville Pride 2019. This annual event will celebrate the LGBTQ+ community of Mississippi all weekend. It begins 8 p.m. Friday with a kickoff concert at Rick’s Cafe. Saturday will be packed with the queer art market, the pride parade, a special viewing of the film "Call Me By Your Name" and a Drag Show at Rick’s Cafe.

Starkville Pride is an LGBTQIA+ pride organization serving the Golden Triangle area. Run by volunteers, the group features members from the Starkville community and MSU students. In addition to the annual Pride Weekend, the group provides endless support to all interested parties. Their mission is to help celebrate, educate and empower LGBTQ+ people and their allies.

"Starkville Pride was founded by students for the community," the Starkville Pride board said. "By working with the LGBTQ+ Union and numerous other student organizations, we hope to demonstrate our immense appreciation for the students. We admire their ability to enact impactful change on the world around them."

Expect to see several activities around campus this week. For more information on LGBTQ+ Union or the events this week, visit the group’s website at lgbtqmsu.org. To learn about this year’s Starkville Pride weekend, feel free to check out starkvillepride.com.

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