Block U sculpture on University of Utah campus is wrapped in pride flag rainbow colors on grassy hillside

Parts of the whole

This article was originally published in People & Places.

The number of identity combinations that currently or could ever exist is boundless and lends complexity to an individual’s beauty. However, Pride Week at the U 2021 also brought attention to how each unique configuration can bring equally unparalleled challenges and experiences, particularly when an individual owns multiple marginalized identities. It is impossible to fully understand the lives of individuals within the LGBTQIA+ community without also acknowledging the intricacies that race, gender, sexuality, ethnicities, class, religion and other identities bring to a single person’s story. The opportunities and events offered during Pride Week created spaces that welcomed the rarity of each story—for it is within these varied journeys that paths find their way to each other and create opportunities for a collective power that will prove to be unmatched by any singular force.

Explore the strength you possess by reflecting on these Pride Week 2021 highlights and remember there is a growing number of resources on campus that offer support for each and every beautiful part of your whole self.

“We are undefinable. No one can say what or who we are but us, and the possibilities for expression are endless. There is so much to love about who you are.”

Max James
Undefined Radiance“  | Uniquely U Art Competition

“You are valid. Who you love is valid. The world is a much better place because you’re in it and the University of Utah is a much stronger campus because you’re on it.”

Ashley Brown
Gaymer Night

“Uplift yourself and the others that look and identify [similarly] as yourself because when we’re uplifting each other, especially in the workplace, it helps with our mental state of being and also helps so that others can also recognize the work that we do.”

Nick Klinkefus
Out at Work

“Don’t try to hide who you are for other people’s benefit—it’s never worth it. You have full control over your life and your identity and don’t let other people tell you how to share that. Don’t compromise on who you are.”

Alyssa Haroldsen
Out at Work

“I would encourage anybody that’s looking to explore their identities to experiment in your own time in a safe place where you can try out using different pronouns and give yourself lots of time to figure out what’s right for you. You don’t have to come up with answers right off the top of your journey.”

Jack Haden
Trans Day of Visibility Conference

“I am me and I can’t and I won’t become somebody else. I have flaws and I am far from perfect but this is who I am. I am filled with words. Words and words can tell my story. I am still living my life and I haven’t quite found all of the pieces that make up the whole me. I am a bisexual, Hispanic, Alaskan Native woman and I am proud. This piece is me.“

Isabell Mancera
Portrait of Truth“ | Uniquely U Art Competition

“That the stories that are locked inside of you right now are important and by sharing those stories with the world, you make space for other people to be their full true selves.”

Greg/PixelGorgeous
Gaymer Night

“You know that weird feeling—the one in your chest that says something doesn’t feel right? Those are your values calling. Take the call.”

Black Benatar
Black Benatar’s Black Magic Cabaret

“Remember, when investing in yourself, you cannot go wrong.”

JenJen Francis
Gaymer Night

“True progress can only be made when the intersectionality of our existence is centered and our wholeness embraced.”

Mary Ann Villarreal
A Space for Joy” on People & Places