Columns, Opinion

Letter from the Editor: Pride beyond June

Pride month. It’s a time of celebration — of unapologetic queer joy and love. But it’s also a time of reflection: of how far we have come with LGBTQ+ rights, security and liberty, and how far we have to go. There’s mourning and there’s growth, as well as a strong and loud, courageous fight for visibility and equality.

Every year, LGBTQ+ Pride Month takes over the country for 30 days of rainbows, parades and discussions. But do these conversations continue come July? Is the community actually being respected and listened to, not in rainbow-washed marketing, but in full?

When I was a reporter in the features team my first semester at Boston University, I fell in love with talking to people and learning their stories. Becoming an editor taught me the importance of taking on the responsibility of not only telling stories well, but in finding what stories need to be told.

Yvonne Tang / DFP Staff

I applied to lead this paper as Editor-in-Chief just more than two months ago because I understand the importance of this responsibility. I know the power of informed journalism and of being watchdogs for vulnerable communities, especially in an imperfect world. And I know queer stories need to be heard.

Coming into this job, I know the paper’s not perfect — I know that we can, and must, grow and change.

To BU’s queer community —I’m sorry for where we’ve fallen short. I’m sorry for the stories we didn’t tell and the times we didn’t get it right. And I promise that we will change, and that I will do everything in my power to do right by you.

One of my most important priorities as Editor-in-Chief is to more inclusively, thoughtfully and intentionally cover the queer community at BU and beyond, especially voices within the community who are so often lost or silenced. This community means a tremendous amount to me, and one I have seen be a beacon of joy, advocacy, leadership and belonging for so many students.

As a student newspaper, I view our role not only to inform the student body, but to be a voice for all students. It’s a role I take seriously and a value I will never sacrifice.

I see this small, summer digital issue as a portfolio of our work so far to cover the local LGBTQ+ community this summer and a mere snapshot of our coverage to come. It is the paper’s first Pride issue, and hopefully not the last. Included is a gallery of Boston’s Trans Resistance March Vigil — a vigil many observed instead of going to the Boston Pride celebration, a story on the BU Out List, transgender students’ experience with gender-neutral bathrooms and dorms in BU housing and more.

Our executive board put together this issue eagerly, writing and editing when at internships of their own while across the country. Nearly every section with available staff contributed, and each section will actively work to expand our queer coverage come this Fall.

This small portfolio is just the beginning of our more concerted efforts to equitably cover the queer community at BU and beyond by telling more stories that need to be told, especially highlighting the voices of queer people of color, trans individuals and nonbinary people. We want to tell it all: stories of joy and pain, of protest and parade, of truth and fairness.

We want to listen to your stories.

I joined this paper wanting to expand on the work of past editors to expand our equitable efforts and the quality of our coverage. Last semester, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion chair led mandatory staff training on bias and equity training. Next year, the paper plans on expanding our equitable and inclusive training in regards to covering the LGBTQ+ community.

Aligned with that spirit of equity and improvement, The Daily Free Press will begin using LGBTQ+ instead of LGBTQ when referring to the queer community to be clearly representative and inclusive of the vast identities under the queer umbrella.

We also invite calls for change and criticism as we expand our equitable efforts and improve our coverage. I want any student to feel like they can walk into the office, email or call our number and know that we will listen to their concerns and suggestions for improvement.

I know it takes time to build trust, but I also know our executive board is ready to build it.

I want this paper to be the best it can be. I want it to be a place everyone finds a home. For any student to pick up the paper and see themselves represented there.

I want everyone to have a voice.

Today, we leave June behind. But that does not mean Pride has to stay behind with it. As our paper prepares to enter next semester, we want the queer community to know that we are here: We see you and we support you. And we are listening.

Love is love.

Lily Kepner
Fall 2021 Editor-in-Chief

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