Rice University's marching band gave a performance to be proud of.
The Marching Owl Band played the Village People's "YMCA" and waved dozens of Pride flags during the halftime show of a football game against Baylor University, a Baptist school with anti-LGBTQ policies, reports the Houston Chronicle. The band members also joined in a formation to spell "Pride" on the field.
The band decided to incorporate the display of Pride after learning Baylor had denied an LGBTQ student group, Gamma Alpha Upsilon (GAY), formal recognition and privileges, including funding and the ability to reserve space for meetings.
In a statement forwarded to the Chronicle, Linda Livingstone, the president of Baylor, did not comment directly on the group's fight for recognition; she delivered a statement that “Baylor is committed to providing a loving and caring community for all students — including our LGBTQ students.”
However, Livingstone also cited to several anti-LGBTQ policies. The school's sexual conduct policy states that it is “expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching,” such as “heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior.”
Baylor also has a “human sexuality” policy endorsing the "biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God."
“Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm," the policy notes.
Chad Fisher, a spokesman for the Marching Owl Band, called Baylor's denial of recognition to the LGBTQ group "ridiculous."
"And so we all got to our show writing meeting Sunday, and we were like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is like exactly what our show needs to be about,’" Fisher said. "We absolutely need to call Baylor out for this.’ From there, it just kind of happened.”
The Marching Owl Band modified its Star Wars-themed performance to incorporate the display of Pride. During planning, word of the musical activism reached other students and alumni, who donated over 70 rainbow, transgender, pansexual, asexual, intersex, and bisexual Pride flags to the cause. They ran onto the field waving the banners for a dance party after the halftime show.
The Pride-themed show reportedly sparked applause on both sides of the field, with a few boos from Baylor as well. Watch it below.