Caylee Tijerina, communication specialist for student success and engagement, sported a rainbow striped dress and colorful rainbow earrings as she fiercely strutted down the catwalk, happily showing off her rainbow pride.
She was among three winners of the dress-up contest during Pride Picnic, an on-campus event celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride month on June 23. The office of student involvement and campus organization Rainbow pride at work and school (P.A.W.S) hosted the event behind Patriots’ Casa.
“I got dressed up because I needed an excuse to wear this outfit,” Tijerina said.
The courtyard was decorated with rainbow flags and balloons, a symbolic representation of LGBT pride.
Cristina Dominguez, assistant director of student involvement, wore a vibrant rainbow colored shirt to the event, ready to participate in the contest.
Dominguez said the campus is known to organize events during all the heritage months.
Pride month events were canceled last year due to the pandemic. Now that restrictions are being lifted and it’s safer, it was time to celebrate, Dominguez said.
“It’s really just to bring life back into the campus. Pride is the best month to do that,” said Dominguez, who’s also a Rainbow pride at work and school (P.A.W.S.) co-chair.
Biology sophomore Dalia Guerrero said she was glad to see the university hosting an event like this to commemorate pride.
“I’m very happy because usually we’re very oppressed, so now it’s like coming into light and trying to include everyone,” Guerrero said, who observed the festivities.
Guerrero said she hopes the university continues to host events like this next pride month. Guerrero suggested incorporating a pride parade or drag queens for next year.
The picnic also featured a catwalk where event attendees were encouraged to participate and flaunt their colorful rainbow attire.
Dominguez said Rainbow P.A.W.S. planned the catwalk contest to determine which contestant was the ‘rainbow-est.’
Along with Tijerina, computer science junior Gregory Gonzaba and Juan Espinoza, transfer student engagement coordinator were named victors of the catwalk contest.
Tijerina is also a member of Rainbow P.A.W.S. and said she was excited to attend the event since this was the first Rainbow P.A.W.S. event she went to.
“It was really fun,” Tijerina said. “I had attended pride events before. I’ve never dressed up and I was super excited to represent Rainbow P.A.W.S. and also represent the student body.”