Organizers hope Spring Pride Week increases gay students’ visibility

Events include a drag show, concert and guest speaker.

Drew Geraets

Goldy Gopher handed out rainbow-colored ribbons and pink anti-homophobia stickers Monday, kicking off Spring Pride Week.

The celebration, put on by the Queer Student Cultural Center, will help increase gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender visibility on campus and give students a chance to come out, said Alison Blomster, the center’s executive director.

“A lot of students are not sure how to come out or who to talk to,” Blomster said.

She said the events will let students know about the center and its services.

Journalism student Kathryn Bailey said several hundred thousand people typically go to the Twin Cities Pride Festival at Loring Park, which she has attended for four years.

She said holding events specifically for the University’s GLBT community will help students get to know one another.

“It’s a really great chance to connect the campus as a whole,” Bailey said.

Jessica Miles, Spring Pride Week’s chairwoman, said a lot of effort went into the events, which feature guest speaker Armistead Maupin, an Ellis concert and a drag show and dance.

“It’s always good to be visible on campus,” Miles said.

She said this visibility should let all students know there is a safe place to go to spend time with one another.

“We’re an open lounge for friends and allies, too,” she said.

Bailey said she likes to see the new faces flooding into the Queer Student Cultural Center.

“They wander in and say, ‘Hey, it’s an open house.’ It gives you a chance to meet new people,” she said.

“When you walk around campus and hold your partner’s hand, people give you looks,” she said. “Here, I can bring down my shield. I can relax.”