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United in Pride

Pride Parade

Celebrating Westminster’s LGBTQ+ community at the Utah Pride Parade and beyond

by Violet Czech (Honors ’26)

On the warm Sunday morning of June 4, 2023, Westminster campus community members and supporters gathered in preparation for the annual Utah Pride Parade in downtown Salt Lake City. The excitement was palpable as everyone arrived wearing Westminster University pride T-shirts and ready to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community. The theme of the 2023 Utah Pride Festival was Unapologetic, and Westminster community members embraced the theme as they marched and cheered along with the over 150,000 supporters lining the parade route.

2023 was far from Westminster’s first year participating in the pride parade, but it marked a momentous occasion: it was the first time university supporters walked alongside an official float. The physical presence of a Westminster float—shaped like the iconic Converse Hall—stood as a symbol of support: it signified both the way that the university has participated in and supported its LGBTQ+ community over the years and the philanthropic support of an anonymous donor, whose gift of the float elevated the university’s presence in the pride parade.

While there is always room to evolve in becoming more inclusive, the new addition to the campus’s pride parade presence represents Westminster’s continued support of and participation in the Utah Pride festivities—an effort begun by Rodney Glore (’16, MEd ’20) 16 years ago.

A former staff member and graduate of Westminster’s Master of Education program, Rodney led the effort to get Westminster involved in the Utah Pride Parade. He played a vital role in organizing the logistics, ordering pride merchandise for Westminster, and communicating with both the campus and community to recruit volunteers for the event. The amount of support Rodney had from the campus community was never in question. 

“Faculty and other individuals that I would interact with were so LGBTQ+ positive,” Rodney says. "People felt excited—like they could be themselves at Westminster.”

Rodney says that, as a staff member and member of the LGBTQ+ community, support was always available, but he wanted to emphasize how Westminster interacted with all members of its community, including students.

“I wanted other LGBTQ+ individuals who weren’t at Westminster to know that we’re a community of love and support—and that Westminster offers a great education.”

As part of Westminster’s involvement in the Utah Pride Festival, Rodney created pride merchandise that had a unique meaning for both the university and the broader higher education community. The Westminster pride merchandise featured the rainbow pride colors in the Westminster logo—a show of solidarity that was rare for a higher education institution at the time. The inclusion of the pride colors in the Westminster logo demonstrated Westminster’s commitment to unapologetically supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

“Westminster’s commitment to positioning pride as active and alive on campus and in the community pursues and accentuates LGBTQ+ longevity,” says Mikey O’Hearn (Honors ’24), an Honors College student pursuing a degree in communication. “There is a transparent dedication to platforming pride that allows a sense of belonging and allyship to glisten.”

Westminster’s pride activities extend beyond the annual state festival. The campus hosts several pride events throughout the month of April, a celebration that has taken place for many years. And student diversity groups like Queer Compass offer a safe space for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+, serves as an ally to the community, or wants to find volunteer opportunities to assist the greater LGBTQ+ community both on campus and off.

It is uncertain as to whether there will be a 2024 Utah Pride Festival due to changes at the Utah Pride Center, but whether the campus community gets to take to the streets in celebration of its queer community or not, Westminster’s pride is always there—as is its commitment to showing up.

“When the Westminster community showed up to the Pride Festival the first year, we stood out as an organization,” Rodney says. “People saw Westminster as a community that is accepting of all people. In the years since, the participation has grown, and it all comes down to the amazing community that we have.”



About the Westminster Review

The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.