On March 24, PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays) Austin and Southwestern Pirates for Pride hosted a collaborative event on campus, honoring the late Deirdre Furr, who was a dynamic and outstanding teacher in the Georgetown community and the founder of Georgetown High School’s first Gay Straight Alliance. Furr cared about creating a safe and accepting environment for all of her students, which directly relates to the Pirates for Pride organizational goals.

Pirates for Pride is Southwestern’s LGBTQIAP/MOGIA student organization whose goal, much like Ms. Furr’s and PFLAG’s, is to foster a tangible and visible support group for the LGBTQ community and its allies. Reverend Mark Sckrabacz of the San Gabriel Unitarian Fellowship partnered with Georgetown students and SU Pirates for Pride in organizing the event.

PFLAG is a national non-profit organization that provides free confidential support groups for LGBTQ groups, along with their family and friends. The Georgetown Independent School District honors Furr through PFLAG’s annual essay contest. This year the theme for the contest was marriage equality and its importance.

The reading of the first prize essay was by David Olson, Southwestern’s director of communications studies internships and assistant professor, and a supporter of the LGBTQ community.

Junior Jordan Curtis, finance and logistics chair of Pirates for Pride, said, “I felt the topic was very important and relevant. Winning the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was a huge step in the policy side for equal rights and I really enjoyed that the winning essay addressed that policy change is a great step toward making a difference, but that it is also a fight for changing how people interact with each other. Equal rights are essential to the fight for equality, but people need to treat others with respect regardless.”

The PFLAG Austin Deirdre Furr Essay Prize Award ceremony is a stepping stone for change in the LGBTQ community and, this year, would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts and support of Southwestern’s Pirates for Pride.

By Daniella A. Barrera 

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