As UC Davis celebrates its centennial this week, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center will be conducting its own five days of events as it kicks off its annual Pride Week.
As part of Pride Week, the LGBTRC and other affiliated groups will host a variety of events on campus geared toward promoting visibility, education and pride among both the LGBT and UC Davis communities.
“The goal of Pride Week is to raise awareness around LGBT issues and to also educate those within the [Davis] community,” said Mark Yanez, community intern for the LBGTRC. “Pride Week’s purpose is to build community, create visibility and show our pride. We hope that this event will bring awareness to the campus and to help our straight participants to commit to being allies to the community.”
This year’s Pride Week is themed 100 Years of Pride and Prejudice – a nod to the university’s centennial – and will focus on the past, present and future of the LGBT community here at UC Davis.
“This year’s theme, 100 Years of Pride and Prejudice … is a reminder that LGBT people have always been around and that we continue to experience both pride within our community but also prejudice from the broader community,” said Sheri Atkinson, director for the LGBTRC. “We are tying in the theme with many of our programs by looking at the histories of organizations, community, activism and education.”
Events start today with Kickoff Visibility Day on the Quad – where students can hang out, eat lunch and carve pumpkins. The week will come to a close on Friday with “Davis is Burning,” an annual drag show put on by the brothers of Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity for gay, bisexual and progressive men.
In addition, students can check out the Queer Org Lunch series at the LGBTRC near South Hall every day this week. Each day will feature a different LGBT-interest organization, where students can find out more about the organization and how to get involved.
Delta Lambda Phi will be featured on Tuesday. The fraternity’s President Jonathan Chua said he is looking forward to raising awareness about the fraternity and members of the LGBT community.
“Delta Lambda Phi as a organization is there to voice our opinion on these issues as well as answer questions related to our fraternity,” Chua said in an e-mail interview. “By attending the luncheon/discussion time, DLP hopes to abolish preconceived notions about gay fraternities as well as change the views about the gay community all being high pitch speaking, ‘queer eye’ for the straight guy not athletic individuals.”
Though students may not have time to partake in all the activities, Yanez said, there are a couple of events that students should make an effort to check out.
“I would encourage everyone to come to as many programs as possible,” Yanez said. “However, if you had to pick … I would definitely recommend attending the Key Note Address by Mandy Carter.”
Mandy Carter is a seasoned activist for LGBT issues and civil rights, according to the event’s website. Her keynote speech is entitled “Reflections of the Past, Hope for the Future” and will focus on her past experiences with social justice movements and what motivates her to continue her activism.
Carter will also moderate an intergenerational panel of past and present activists and educators entitled “Now & Then: A Look at Queer Activism at UC Davis,” which is being held today at 2 p.m. in the DeCarli Room at the Memorial Union.
Another event highly anticipated by the LGBTRC is a performance by Mangos with Chili on Tuesday, Atkinson said. Mangos with Chili is an “annual touring cabaret of queer and trans people of color performance artists,” according to the group’s MySpace.com page. The event will include performances in theater, dance, spoken word, burlesque and drag.
Pride Week has proved to be a success in past years in terms of the reception from the campus and in fulfilling its goals, Atkinson said.
“LGBT and Ally students, staff and faculty often respond positively to the Pride Week events and appreciate the efforts to raise awareness and build community,” she said. “There is a great need to educate and enhance campus climate for all, by addressing LGBT issues, homophobia, heterosexism, biphobia, transphobia and all issues of oppression.”
Students can find more about this week’s events at lgbtrc.ucdavis.edu.
ERICA LEE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.