Spring Pride Week raises gay awareness

by David Anderson

Kissing through a rainbow “out” door on Northrop Mall is just one of a series of annual campus events today, engineered to bring out information about a diverse University community.
Following the success of Coming Out Week last October, the Queer Student Cultural Center is sponsoring its annual Spring Pride Week, a series of educational and entertainment events to maintain the group’s visibility on campus and to raise awareness about queer issues.
“It’s not about an agenda per se,” said Jason Vorbeck, a political science senior. “It’s about existence and culture. A lot of times it’s about education more than activism.”
Spring Pride Week, which started Monday, continues with its Kiss-in, Come Out! event today and a night of drag queens and dance Friday, as well as a number of lectures and forums, including one on queerness and disability.
Vorbeck said the cultural center’s goal is to educate students about queer issues and to be a resource about the queer community on campus.
The effort is to battle homophobia, which is a more accepted form of hatred, Vorbeck said.
Although the student group is generally well received by University administration and by other students, homophobia-related problems persist, said Miss Alison, office coordinator for the cultural center.
As an example, she said Delta Lambda Phi, a gay fraternity, had to change its phone number because of repeated harassments.
“I think that there’s some underlying hatred among people at the U,” Alison said.
Kate Bornstein, a celebrated transgender activist, playwright, author and performance artist, spoke about gender roles Monday at the West Bank’s Southern Theater.
Tuesday, the cultural center held a queer chat on homophobia and racism in which students discussed the difficulties queers face within minorities.
“They have pride in their ethnicities, and they’re worried about not being understood,” said T’Yanna Singleton, a freshman co-chairwoman of the center.
The cultural center received support to organize Spring Pride from a number of University associations, including the Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Program.
However, Alison said the events were especially hard to set up this year because of the closing of Coffman Union. She said they had to go off campus to find space because most campus facilities were already booked or too expensive.
Spring Pride focuses on University students as a precursor to Gay Pride, which is held in June when many students are gone.
“There has been definite progress made, but we want to remind campus so that our visibility doesn’t fade,” Vorbeck said.

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