As Pride Month comes to a close, it should be emphasized that Pride should be celebrated all year long. Pride is about being your authentic self, celebrating who you are, and expressing it without fear.
To celebrate this month, the DCI IN STEP Committee interviewed two amazing members of the activity who want to share their story about the impact drum corps has had on their lives. Additionally, the committee curated some resources to end the month with action.
Meet Morrice (he/his/him)
Morrice’s first drum corps experience was in 2012 as a spectator. When he saw the Spirit of Atlanta take the field, he fell in love with the activity and immediately looked for ways to be part of it. After two years, Morrice was able to be part of the inaugural season with the Louisiana Stars, and the rest is history!
In what ways did you experience inclusivity of the activity?
Overall, everyone who I interacted with within the activity, whether it was a member or staff, has been amazing. At times, I was the only black and/or gay male member in the corps — and I was fortunate to be part of communities that have always accepted me for who I am throughout the years.
What are some of the lifelong characteristics drum corps taught you?
I grew up in a small town and had opportunities to march and teach early on in my career. I was able to gain confidence in my craft and teach others about something I love so much. Another characteristic I can think of is resilience. When I joined the Carolina Crown, I felt like a small fish in a big pond. Every day, I pushed myself to be better, to constantly improve, and to work hard. I owe my work ethic to what I’ve learned during my time as a marching member.
Meet Kane (he/his/him)
DCI IN STEP's LGBTQ+ Subcommittee Chair
Kane’s marching experience has really helped him feel validated in his gender identity. Over the years, he has been able to be an advocate for the needs of other LGBTQ+ members and has had staff genuinely listen to his needs in order to create a more inclusive environment.
In what ways did you experience the inclusivity of the activity?
It all started at the front door of my first rehearsal camp. In just being in a space away from home and classmates, I was allowed to go by my preferred name, and staff members were willing to use my preferred pronouns. For me, being in a drum corps really allowed me to start with a blank slate for how I wanted to be perceived.
What are some positive stories that you have about being openly Transgender while marching?
As I went into my third year of marching, I was jokingly dubbed the “LGBTQ+ caption head” because of the incredibly large amount of LGBTQ+ students we had. Having several years of experience in drum corps and knowing how to navigate that as a Transgender man really allowed me to guide and mentor other students who either had not marched before or were growing into their identity.
Where are some places you believe DCI can grow in regard to showing allyship to LGBTQ+ students?
I strongly believe that the first step is working with corps to help train their staff on what true allyship looks like. While marching, my gender identity was always treated like a taboo and staff walked on eggshells around me. I want to help staff members feel more confident in their allyship to their students.
The IN STEP Committee wants to share some additional resources for those who want to learn:
What's a pronoun, why do they matter, and what should you do if you make a mistake? Using someone’s correct personal pronouns is a way to respect them and create an inclusive environment—just as using a person’s correct name can be a way to respect them.
The Trevor Project is focused on the LGBTQ youth isolated from supportive communities that affirm who they are. Your support this Pride season will help them reach their goal to serve an additional 100,000 LGBTQ young people with free, confidential crisis counseling.