Writer’s Note: Pride Night holds a special place in my heart, especially considering that Minnesota United is my favorite club across all sports. The fact that our club is not only celebrating but pushing for the inclusion of the LGBT community, not only in sports but across everyday life means a lot to me.
For 17 years I had to pretend to be someone I am not, I had to force myself to fit into a role in society that didn't match the image I had of myself. I knew from a young age I was different than other kids and eventually adults when I reached the age of 18. Eventually I couldn't take pretending to be someone I am not anymore and finally after 17 years of living as a male I came out as transgender at the age of 22. Along with this and having been transitioning for three years I am also openly pansexual. For these reasons Pride Night and Pride Month in general hold a very special meaning for me, and many others in the LGBT community.
With Pride Night coming up here to end Pride Month I got the chance to interview Minnesota United’s Community Relations Coordinator, Alyssa Anderson.
Ashle Norling: Minnesota United had their initial Pride Night back in 2014, what was the reason for starting it?
Alyssa Anderson: Speaking from the history of the club looking at Dr. Bill McGuire and Nick Rogers who started the rebrand and helped make us who we are today, inclusivity was one of their really big pillars that they wanted to build the club on and make sure soccer was accessible and was open and welcoming to everyone.
AN: This is the 5th straight year MNUFC will hold a Pride Night, what things inside Pride Night will the club be doing?
AA: The usual rainbow LED’s, a rainbow captain’s armband, socks, shirts, fanny packs for the LGBTQ+ groups in attendance, jerseys, and we are working with the [University of Minnesota] on gender neutral bathrooms, and a video with leaders from the LGBT community,
AN: How did the planning start for Pride Night to make the experience that everyone inside and outside the LGBTQ+ community could be proud of?
AA: We meet with different leaders from the LGBTQ+ community and talk about what they want to see and how to make it an authentic night. We want to make sure they accept it and really find it authentic and that it’s what they want to see. All of the planning is started via those conversations and we also use that group to do a video. They said this year that they want their video to be a celebration because Pride is a celebration. We are also working with that community and group of leaders to source a L’Etoile du Nord for the night and we also are going to have a member of the LGBTQ+ community do the coin toss for the Itasca Society.
AN: Outside of Pride Night and Pride Month in general what else does the club do for the LGBTQ+ community?
AA: We try to have the overall theme of inclusivity running throughout the year, whether that’s collaborating with TC Pride on things that they are doing or working with others because obviously Pride is so much more than just one thing, it’s very representative of a community and all of the aspects of the community together.
In addition to the aforementioned festivities, Minnesota United also announced that the players will be wearing a special-edition Pride Night Kit with rainbow-colored numbers. The Bell Bank Man of the Match will also use their $1,000 donation to boost the Dark Clouds’ PrideRaiser campaign as well.
The Loons will play FC Dallas for Pride Night 2018 on Friday June 29th at 7 PM.