Parents host LGBTQ end-of-summer bash

Natasha Speiss

The Harvard-Westlake Alumni Association and Harvard-Westlake Pride hosted the school community’s first LGBTQ event, the End of Summer Bash, on Aug. 22.

The event took place outdoors as a result of COVID-19 safety concerns. The function was organized for alumni, parents, faculty and students a part of the LGBTQ community.

Ofek Levy ’23 said the event was a great opportunity to connect with members of the community in-person.

“It’s amazing that the school wants to connect not only students but also staff and alumni in this type of event,” Levy said. “Considering the time we’ve all spent apart during the pandemic, it’s nice that we can focus on uniting our community.”

Grace Kosten ’22, who had the opportunity to attend virtual and in-person LGBTQ events during the pandemic, said moments like the End of Summer Bash are helpful in connecting people within the LBQTQ community and in celebrating diversity together.

“ [ Community events] are important to show the majority unnoticed things about the minority,” Kosten said. “Sometimes nuanced things go unnoticed and education outside the classroom is equally as important.”

Mercado-Quinn said they attended the End of Summer Bash because LGBTQ pride events help them feel understood and accepted.

“When there is an event celebrating a certain community that has experienced oppression in the past, it shows the progression of society in the way that we are less scared to be ourselves,” Mercado-Quinn said. “The reason I say ‘less scared’ instead of ‘not scared anymore’ is because there is still fear in all of us to be ourselves. Not all of the societal hatred has passed, and it is our job to hold celebratory events like this to spread kindness and acceptance.”

Howard Cohen (Lucas Cohen-d’Arbeloff ’23) said he was grateful for the opportunity to attend and connect with fellow parents and students in the LGBTQ community, to celebrate the group.

“Events like these […] help different communities feel seen,” Cohen said. “The LGBTQ community is like other minority communities in that visibility helps with changes in mindset, in political progress and in relationship with the larger school community.”