Rice University’s Marching Owl Band spelled out “pride” as people ran on the field waving rainbow flags at halftime of Saturday’s Baylor at Rice football game in Houston to make a statement of support for LGBTQ students at Baylor.
The band came up with the idea after Baylor administrators refused last month to recognize an LGBTQ student group, citing the Christian school’s “human sexuality” policy that prohibits students from engaging in “heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior.”
The Baylor LGBTQ group, which wanted to adopt the name whose acronym Gamma Alpha Upsilon spells “GAY” in Greek letters, has been denied school recognition since 2011.
When the band put out the word of its idea to address the issue, people on and off campus donated 70 rainbows flags, the organizers told the Houston Chronicle.
Chad Fisher, a spokesman for the Marching Owl Band, also known as “The MOB,” said he and his bandmates decided on a “Star Wars”-themed show months ago, but after learning about Baylor LGBTQ students’ ongoing fight to get recognition for their student group, they decided to incorporate that into their performance.
“Some of us did some more digging and found how deep it went,” Fisher said.
“We just think that’s kind of ridiculous,” Fisher said. “And so we all got to our show writing meeting … and we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is like exactly what our show needs to be about. We absolutely need to call Baylor out for this.’ From there, it just kind of happened.”
As the Texas Tribune noted, not recognizing the LGBTQ student group at Baylor marginalizes these students by barring them “from accessing student activity funds or reserving campus space for meetings.”
During the halftime show, the Marching Owl Band urged Baylor “to reconsider your policy and support all your amazing students.”
It also tweeted out its thanks to everyone after the game for their support and ended a tweet with the hashtag #SpreadLoveNotHate.”