UNI Proud and GSS present Pride Week 2019

ANNA FLANDERS, Staff Writer

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Inclusivity is the theme of this year’s Pride Week, which begins on Monday, April 1.

“We want to get everyone who wants to come to come,” said Adri Kelly, a senior majoring in political science and public administration and UNI Proud’s director of media relations. “We want to get away from this idea that ally students don’t belong in queer spaces. That’s something that we’ve talked about a lot with our exec board just because we want it to be an open space for everyone to come to and don’t say, ‘Oh, it’s Pride Week. You can’t come if you’re straight or an ally.’ […] Inclusivity is one thing we really want this year.”

The Art Gay-la will be an all-day event on April 1 at the Center for Multicultural Education (CME). Queer artists submitted pieces for the gallery beforehand, and those attending the gallery can vote on the piece they like best. The official kickoff will happen at 7 p.m. the same day in the CME. It will involve food and games, including Dungeons and Dragons.

The annual Queer Monologues event will be at 7 p.m. on April 2 in the Maucker Union Ballroom.

“They’re often about the speaker’s experiences as a queer person,” Kelly said. “A lot of times there are more sensitive topics, so on our program, there’ll be a trigger warning for each one just so the people know what they’re about.”

Although all Pride Week events are open to the public, Kelley wants to see younger people involved with the Queer Monologues, including high school students.

“I want to try to get young people involved too because even though it’s UNI Proud, I like the idea of younger people getting involved in the queer community,” Kelly said.

Unlike in previous years, there will not be a keynote speaker. Instead, Gender and Sexuality Services will be hosting an LGBT Q&A event at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3. The participants will be discussing their experiences as queer adults and answer questions from the audience.

On Thursday, April 4, UNI Proud will host a screening of the film “Boy Erased” at ThreeHouse. The 2018 film is based on the true story of Garrad Conley and his experiences with conversion therapy.

“We do wanna have time afterward to talk about [the film] and decompress, just because it’s more of a heavy topic,” Kelly said.

According to Kelly, Proud hopes to have a queer student who is involved in the religious community help lead the discussion since the film touches on the difficulties of being a queer person inside the religious community.

On Friday, April 5, Pride Week will conclude with the Drag Ball at 8 p.m. in Maucker Union Coffee House.

Not only will the Drag Ball feature Spjörk Cutlery from Iowa City, but The Vixen from season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race will also be performing twice and co-hosting. The Vixen will be doing a meet-and-greet for 45 minutes after the ball, according to Kelly.

Donations from the ball will go to the nonprofit organization Iowa Safe Schools and the Queer College Conference. UNI Proud and Iowa Safe Schools will be hosting the conference in October on UNI campus.

“[Iowa Safe Schools is] focused on helping queer youth just because statistically, queer young people are bullied a lot more than any other kid,” Kelly said. “So that group helps out with creating GSAs [gay-straight alliances] on campuses for high schools and colleges. They have a campus coordinator that we’ve worked with quite a bit [. . .] It’s an anti-bullying group that does a lot of great work.”

UNI Pride Week events are sponsored by UNI Proud and UNI Gender and Sexuality Services (GSS).

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