Photo Credits: BRIANA NGO / AGGIE FILE
LGBTQIA Resource Center presents “Collective Healing for Liberation” as month’s theme
Pride Month at UC Davis began with a kick-off event on May 2, 2019 and will continue with a host of additional events throughout the month of May. The events will be held at the UC Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center in the Student Community Center, the Student Health and Wellness Center, the Quad and other locations on campus. The theme for this year’s Pride Month is “Collective Healing for Liberation,” focusing on healing within the LGBTQIA community.
Joel Gutierrez, a third-year gender, sexuality and women’s studies and American studies double major and community coordinator at the Center, spoke about this year’s theme.
“This year’s theme is collective healing for liberation,” Gutierrez said. “We are really focusing on healing, and what that looks like for the communities, and how there can be many different forms of healing for people.”
In this effort, the the Center is actively collaborating with the Health Education and Promotion program within Student Health and Counseling Services, according to Gutierrez. During the first week of Pride Month, a series of activities called “Student Healing Week” will be provided in collaboration with HEP, allowing the Center to, “really hone in on [our] theme and make sure that we’re doing programming that reflects that theme.”
Though healing is the overarching theme of the whole month, long-running events will also take place again.
“For example, Pride Kick-Off and Out On the Quad are [events] that are pretty much similar every year and don’t necessarily have to align with the theme completely,” Gutierrez said. “They are ways to celebrate pride.”
A diversity of events are on the docket, including therapy dogs and bug-contact events.
“Something we really worked on is to think about forms of healing that [people] don’t think about right away when you think of healing,” Gutierrez said. “For example, we are doing therapy fluffies like when they have the dogs during midterm season and therapy bugs […] At the Bohart Museum [of Entomology], someone is bringing some bugs from there. That way folks can interact with the bugs. That is healing, so they can relax [with the bugs].”
While animal events are common outside of the Center, events led by other community coordinators at the Center will be prominent as well.
“One of our staff is doing a movement-based healing [and] workshop. One of my co-workers is doing a tincture workshop,” Gutierrez said. “We are also really thinking about how we can heal just by being with community as well.”
To Gutierrez, Pride month is a way to show off the size of the LGBTQIA community at UC Davis to help dispel the “myth that there are not that many LGBTQIA people” and the misconception that the LGBTQIA community on-campus is not as large as many people think.
“I think Pride Month is an example that there are a lot of us,” Gutierrez said. “If someone were to go to every single event, they would see so many different faces and also that people have many different interests. I want to tell the greater campus community that our community is really strong and benefits from being together and really finding connections with each other as well, because all of our communities are so interlinked.”
Lehma Sawez, a fifth-year history and international relations double major, spoke about the importance of the Pride Month Pick-Off event held on May 2.
“Pride Kick-Off is a way for us to start off the month of May in a way where we are able to gather community and celebrate Pride Month,” Sawez said. “It is a way for us to come together to celebrate being community so that we can further plan for the events for the month.”
Out on the Quad will be the largest of the Pride Month events and is planned for May 14 from 12:00 to 2:30 p.m. The event expects a large turnout from the UC Davis community.
“Out on the Quad will be one of our biggest events,” Sawez said. “We [will] occupy the front part of the east quad, and we have tables and events and we give out shirts, and it is just a way for the community to be visible and present here on campus and also to just spend time with each other.”
Kit Phillips, a third-year wildlife, fish and conservation biology major, spoke about what the Pride Month Kick-Off event and other events during Pride Month mean to them.
“It’s not necessarily that it is just this event only,” Phillips said. “Events such as these and spaces such as these are for some people, the only place where people are allowed to safely be themselves [and] to be out as their identify without fear of being rejected by peers. We pride ourselves on being a safe space for that to happen. For people who cannot be themselves outside of this space, this is a really big thing.”
Phillips is also looking forward to the festivities during Out on the Quad.
“I’m really looking forward to Out on the Quad,” Phillips said. “It’s always a highlight of the year for me to go and see all of our centers, clubs and all of our tables and activities that we do not just on a weekly basis here [in the center] but it is showcasing this is who we are, and we are not going to hide ourselves, and engaging in community and having a great time.”
Written by: George Liao — firstname.lastname@example.org