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LGBTQIA+ community celebrates through Night of Noise

Isabel+Brown%2C+Alice+Lister%2C+Lauren+Levine%2C+and+Emil+Jarza+pose+for+a+photo+while+setting+up+flags+and+signs+before+they+march+to+the+Fort+Collins+Museum+of+Art+for+Night+of+Noise+April+12.
Collegian | Julia Percy
Isabel Brown, Alice Lister, Lauren Levine and Emil Jarza pose for a photo while setting up flags and signs before they march to the Museum of Art Fort Collins for Night of Noise April 12. Out Boulder County put on the Night of Noise to celebrate queer joy. They had an open mic, a resource fair, drag performances and poetry.

What once began at the University of Virginia in 1996 has now grown into a national event, making its way to Fort Collins. Day of Silence was invented by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, as a day to spread awareness about the challenges the LGBTQIA+ community endures in addition to celebrating the progress that has been made.

Night of Noise was created to mark the ending of Day of Silence. Instead of having a full day of sorrow, this time gives people a chance to celebrate who they are and the identities they hold. The event is held annually on the second Friday of April.

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In Colorado, it was originally hosted in Boulder by Out Boulder County — a local nonprofit that supports LGBTQIA+ individuals — but this is the first year it’s spreading to Fort Collins. Ash Tumbleson is the Northern Colorado youth program assistant at Out Boulder County and the main person in charge of Night of Noise.

“Our rights matter. (We are) celebrating everything — who we are and how far we’ve come and acknowledging how much farther we need to be.” -Lauren Levine, Out Boulder County Northern Colorado case management coordinator

“There’s a lot of things happening in the LGBTQ community right now that are really poignant for people,” Tumbleson said in response to recent anti-transgender legislation. “It’s really powerful that we’re able to be here in Fort Collins to do this event.”

Another Out Boulder County member and Northern Colorado case management coordinator, Lauren Levine, helped lead the march, the official beginning of the event.

“I’m here just to support that community and be a part of uplifting that,” Levine said.

Before the march started at The Lory Student Center Plaza, Levine had a multitude of signs discussing different aspects of the LGBTQIA+ experience and flags so members could grab whatever flags and colors they identified with.

“Our rights matter,” Levine said. “(We are) celebrating everything — who we are and how far we’ve come and acknowledging how much farther we need to be.”

The group marched through The Oval and down South College Avenue, receiving multiple supportive honks along the way.

They had a list of chants prepared, such as, “Two, four, six, eight; how do you know your kids are straight?” and, “Trans rights are human rights.”

After walking for 1.2 miles, the march reached the Museum of Art Fort Collins, welcomed by the Planned Parenthood and Imagine by Northpoint booths, marking the beginning of the resource fair.

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Imagine by Northpoint provides mental health services for adolescents at the outpatient level for teens in Fort Collins.

“I couldn’t be more stoked just helping end the stigma for mental health and getting treatment,” said Claire Gishwiller, an Imagine by Northwest representative.

Guests moving forward were greeted by a room full of booths stacked with purchasable trinkets relating to the cause. Not only was there jewelry to purchase but also an exhibit that featured a wide variety of masks.

Different activities occurred throughout the night, starting with a poetry reading, where participants were given a prompt and then encouraged to share out loud with a band playing soft music in the background.

“There are a good number of people that have shown up,” Tumbleson said. “All of our resource people have shown up for the community and a lot of new faces — people I don’t recognize — which is really great to see.”

Drag performers later came out and gave an intriguing performance. The rest of the night was filled with live music and closing statements.

“We’re just grateful for everyone who came out, and (we’re) proud of the interns and the work they’ve done,” Tumbleson said.

Reach Sophie Webb at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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