Flashes of Pride started five years ago when Ken Ditlevson, director of the LGBTQ Center, visited different universities to learn about their various services in their LGBTQ centers.
“We got this idea from Bowling Green University,” Ditlevson said. “They were excited that we were open to doing something similar.”
The objective of the poster is to show visibility and pride across the university, Ditlevson said.
“People who are part of the LGBT community often times feel alone or isolated like they are the only one and that’s totally not the case,” he said.
Ditlevson said the Flashes of Pride poster is one visual way that highlights LGBTQ people who are proud of who they are. Besides, it is a way to tell other people that it is OK to be themselves at Kent State.
Signups for the poster starts at the beginning of the school year during the LGBTQ plus kickoff event, where they show previous Flashes of Pride posters.
“We have around 400 students in the event and we say ‘if you are out and proud come and be featured this year come and sign the list,’” Ditlevson said.
After signing up, participants attend another day for a unique photo session.
“Every year we have a different background. This year we had 39 people featured. Unfortunately we had nine people more than we were able to fit so we had to cut nine people, but they will be in next year’s poster and we already got sign up list for next year,” he said.
The last step is verifying information with the participants to make sure that the information on the poster is correct. Participants mustn’t miss any of these steps to avoid losing their spots, Ditlevson said.
Every year, the Flashes of Pride poster gets a new background with new faces.
“Thankfully, we have university photographer Bob Christy. He is the one who comes up with creative ideas for the background every year,” Ditlevson said.
Flashes of Pride encourages LGBTQ members to participate, and Ditlevson said they have already started the signup list for 2020.
“It gets easier every year when people see those who are out and proud, nothing horrible happens.”
To participate in the 2020 Flashes of Pride poster, send an email request to Ken Ditlevson / LGBTQ Student Center Director on [email protected]
Shams Mustafa is a general assignment reporter. Contact her at [email protected]