On June 1, Meredith College posted an Instagram post with the progress pride flag with the caption “Celebrate Pride!” The caption included a short description of Pride month and local resources. The comments were filled with students calling out Meredith for their lack of clear admissions policy and LGBTQIA+ inclusivity on campus.
Pride Month, which is celebrated the entire month of June, honors the years of struggle that the LGBTQIA+ community has had fighting for civil rights as well as the continued pursuit of equal justice under the law. The Stonewall Riots that occurred in 1969 acted as a catalyst for the gay rights movement and are a very important part of Pride month. You can learn more about pride month and its history here.
Today, Pride Month is celebrated through events and protests. Pride month is also a time to commemorate people from the LGBTQIA+ community and their accomplishments, achievements, and effect on history. The Herald reached out to students who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community to highlight their experiences.
In regards to what Pride month means to them, Emily Hodge, ‘25, stated, “The history behind Pride month is so incredibly important” and that “the queer community has a responsibility in honoring the Stonewall riots as they paved the way for LGBT[QIA]+ rights and recognition, the unity between all walks of queer life at Stonewall is so beautiful and should be the blueprint for Pride.”
Hodge also stated that “we owe the trans women of color that came before us so much” and that “Pride month is a beautiful time to celebrate me and my identity, but also the intersectionality that is essential for gay pride.” When asked how she celebrates Pride, Hodge said they texted their queer friends to wish them a happy pride.
As an LGBTQIA+ student at Meredith, Hodge explained, “Meredith for me was my opportunity to live as an out lesbian. I had been closeted my whole life save for a few close friends and it truly felt like a fresh start for me, which I will never forget and will always be grateful for.”
However, she expressed that she hasn't always felt welcomed. “Not all are welcoming, I’ve known this for a long time,” she said. “But having a ‘Gay Pride’ sticker torn off in the Meredith parking lot was pretty discouraging.”
Juniper Craft, ‘25, said that they celebrate Pride month by “being unapologetically [them]” and so far their experience at Meredith “has been very good.”
“All of my professors have used my preferred name and pronouns, and they have been very respectful, although the admissions policy could use some work,” they stated.
The Herald also spoke to Elinor Shelp-Peck, Class of 2022. Shelp-Peck highlighted that to celebrate Pride month they are spending as much time with friends as they can and said, “this Pride month, I am mostly focusing on the community I have built and fostering those relationships.”
Shelp-Peck also touched on what it was like to be an LGBTQIA+ student on Meredith's campus. They explained, “I began my time at Meredith as someone who outwardly identified as a bisexual woman and finished as someone who identifies as a nonbinary lesbian.” Shelp-Peck noted that “a lot of professors were trying to be more aware and accepting of LGBTQ[IA]+ students, but the administration hasn't matched this trend.”
As a staff writer for The Herald, Shelp-Peck wrote an article regarding Meredith's admissions policy for transgender and nonbinary applicants. They stated that “[the] interview process was so taxing and demoralizing/dehumanizing that I chose to personally not write about the topic again as a student.”
Shelp-Peck continued with “Meredith is one of two historically all-women's institutions, out of 28 total, that does not have a stated admissions policy regarding trans and nonbinary students” and that “this level of negligence is incredibly troubling and disheartening for someone who is on campus as a nonbinary student. Meredith preaches this idea of sisterhood, but only one that fits a specific gender binary.”
They concluded with “I want Meredith to know that we are here! Queer, trans and nonbinary students are here and we deserve recognition.” Hodge shared a similar sentiment, saying that “lots of steps could be taken to make this campus more inclusive and respectful for queer people as a whole.”
By Evelyn Summers, Copy Editor