University of Southern California

USC Pride
Marshall Gay & Lesbian Association Sponsors Participation in LA Pride Parade
June 12, 2014 • by News at Marshall

Last Sunday, 50 USC Trojans marched in the LA Pride Parade as part of a campus-wide initiative from Marshall's Gay & Lesbian Association — which sponsored registration costs for the event — in partnership with the USC LGBT Resource Center.

Participants walked as part of the LGBT Resource Center's contingent during the annual gathering, one of the largest of the nationwide pride events taking place the first weekend in June.

The L.A. parade on June 8, for which recording artist Demi Lovato served as grand marshall, drew around 400,000 attendees.

Joanne Rapadas, MBA ’16, vice president, Community & Events for Marshall’s Gay & Lesbian Association, said their sponsorship of the parade was one of their first steps in partnering with the resource center and promoting the diversity of Marshall and the greater USC community.

“USC consistently ranks as one of the top 25 universities in the country in terms of being LGBT-friendly for students in the Campus Pride Index. It’s also considered the most resourceful school for LGBT students from Nerd Scholar. We’ve made a lot of strides on campus in terms of supporting this population of students — in large part due to Vincent Vigil, previous USC LGBT resource director — but I think we do have potential to reach out to the greater L.A. community and make a big impact,” said Rapadas.

She said that there were additional benefits to participating in the parade and other upcoming GALA events as either a member of the LGBT community or as a supportive ally. Large companies that foster a diverse corporate culture seek out potential hires who are accepting of people from other backgrounds.

Later this June, which is LGBT Pride month, the student association will be working with the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center to offer a leadership workshop at their homeless youth center in Hollywood.

Rapadas, who also earned her B.S. from Marshall in 2005, but did not come out until recently to family and friends, hopes to communicate to prospective students and those across the university that USC is an accepting community.

“There are people who are open to difficult conversations if people need to talk and there are resources that people on campus arent aware of. Personally, I wanted to help out where I couldn’t before,” she said.

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Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.