Queer at the Intersections: Pride Week Offers Events For All Students

A+pride+flag+hangs+from+a+house+in+Salt+Lake+City%2C+Utah+on+September+21st+2020.+This+design+of+the+pride+flag+includes+Black%2C+Brown+and+trans+pride.+%28Photo+by+Gwen+Christopherson+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

Gwen Christopherson

A pride flag hangs from a house in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 21st 2020. This design of the pride flag includes Black, Brown and trans pride. (Photo by Gwen Christopherson | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brooke Williams, News Writer

 

The University of Utah’s LGBT Resource Center invites students to celebrate transgender and queer lives from March 29 to April 3 for its annual Pride Week. The theme this year is Queer at the Intersections. It is important to the committee to think about trans and queerness “through the intersections of multiple different identities,” according to the director of the LGBT Resource Center, Dr. Clare Lemke.

For over six months, a committee of 40 volunteers spearheaded by a group of leadership been planning to put together a variety of events for the week.

The events kick off Monday night with Gaymer’s Night, which will be a virtual event open to everyone featuring music, a keynote speech, a surprise performance, and lots of games. There is a Discord group that people can join ahead of time for updates and announcements.

Tuesday they will host Out At Work, a virtual discussion event with alumni about navigating everyday trials in the LGBTQIA+ community. Registration and more information can be found online.

“It’s important as a campus for us to be able to come together to celebrate queer and trans lives and the contributions of queer and trans people,” Lemke said.

On Wednesday, National Trans Day of Visibility, the “What I Wish I Had Known” Zoom conference aims to inform students of the resources available to them in their process of transitioning or coming out as gender non-conforming.

“A lot of people really start this process without knowing what to do and they can be very lost,” said Danielle Shepherd, who worked in the subcommittee planning this event.

Additionally, a gender-expansive pop-up clothing shop will be open Wednesday and Thursday at the A. Ray Olpin Union. Students can participate remotely or schedule in-person shopping or box pick-up appointments on their website.

Lemke said the donation-based shop aims to provide access to “spaces where folks can be affirmed in their identities that may not have the ability to express their gender in ways that feel comfortable.”

Thursday also offers a virtual movie screening of “But I’m A Cheerleader”, followed by a virtual Queer and Trans Students of Color Mixer on Friday. A limited supply of gift cards and lunch offers will be distributed to those who register.

The week ends with the Black Benatar’s Black Magic Cabaret, a virtual magic and drag performance on Friday at 7:30. Tickets can be purchased online.

On top of the daily events, Pride Week includes the Uniquely U Art competition for students, faculty and staff, alumni, and any community member to express their identities through art. Meet-ups for artists are March 16 and 18, and all entries are due March 22.

They are also offering small grants to students who apply on a need basis.

“It was really important to the committee that people can participate in the competition without having income and access to supplies,” Lemke said.

Four prizes of $500 will go to a selection of voted and judged winners. Submissions will be displayed and open for a public vote on their Facebook page on March 29.

The planning committees encourage people to join the celebration regardless of their identity to learn, be inspired and embrace the LGBTQIA+ lives all around.

“There’s nothing wrong with being who you are and there are people all over the campus and community who are like you,” Shepherd said. “We’re all here to be there for each other.”

The LGBT Resource Center works year-round to offer guidance and support for students. Studies show that young LGBT people are twice as likely to feel suicidal and four times as likely to attempt versus their straight and cisgender peers — but a supportive school and community can significantly help.

According to Lemke, the resource center offers a place to land with problem-solving in an affirming community, and an empathetic listening ear. Lemke said they “approach talking about queerness and transgender identities in ways that feel joyous and that feel important and impactful.”

Volunteers for day-of events are still needed: sign-ups will be launched March 15 and will close March 26. Those interested can email Dr. Lemke.

For more information on Pride Week and the LGBT Resource Center, visit their website.

 

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