QU students take part in “Gay Day” celebration

Joe Pelletier

Michael Riecke

It began as a normal SPB trip. It then had a decided plot twist. Afterwards, it became “the best day ever,” according to some.
“It” was the SPB-sponsored trip to Six Flags New England scheduled for September 20.
The decided plot twist was that the Quinnipiac trip coincided with Out in the Park, a Gay Day event. The park was planned to be a private day for celebrating the “Premiere Gay Day in New England,” according to outinthepark.com.
Sign-ups for the QU trip had already occurred, and an e-mail was sent out to the 52 students, informing them of the event.
Despite being a closed day at the park, Quinnipiac’s tickets were still honored, and students were still psyched for the trip.
“When I first heard about Out in the Park I thought, ‘This is the most fabulous thing that ever happened,'” junior Stephanie Annunziata said. “I mean, how many people get the opportunity to go to a private event like this? It’s a great story to have.”
Some were less ecstatic, but still interested.
“I had no idea what to expect,” sophomore Ryan McAssey said. “But it was certainly going to be an experience-and when we got there, it turned out to be like a normal day.”
Before the students stepped into the park, they received a brief speech from student media organizations manager Michael Riecke, who was one of the chaperones for the trip. He told the students that they would “see things that would challenge social norms,” and asked them to be respectful and open-minded.
And while things were a bit out of the ordinary, evident when a group of students were asked “Where y’all straight b—— going?” by Mistress of Ceremonies Miss Kitty Litter after stepping away from a drag queen race–students were not fazed.
“Although some people were over the top, most were average people,” Annunziata said. “If there was a big group of people, you couldn’t tell whether the people were gay or if it were family or supporters.”
And the number of people at the park was also a positive.
“There were almost no lines,” McAssey said. “We went on every rollercoaster in the park without having to wait.”
Outside of the rides, students were pleased to see the gay community fully embraced.
“It was nice to see people who have to suppress so often in their lives open up,” Annunziata said. “It made me happy.”
“Everybody was having a good time,” McAssey said. “The gay community got to have fun together and be free of discrimination.”