The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Week of pride energizes campus

In addition to the traditional red, white, and blue flag flying outside on the west side of Forum Beach is a more colorful, more cheerful, and gay flag. It’s here, it’s queer: it’s Pride Week.

Pride week officially began on Saturday, Apr. 11 with a BBQueer on Loose Beach, attended by over 50 students. “I really like the BBQueer because it’s in front of Loose so people maybe if they weren’t really sure if they were going to go they can see it and stop by on their way to somewhere else,” Anna Friel ’10 said. “It’s an accessible place, it’s really fun and it’s really good for the community.” Students spent the afternoon mingling and grilling food—both meat and vegetarian options.

On Monday night, spoken-word poet and activist Andrea Gibson performed at the Forum South Lounge. “Liz Ehlinger [’09] approached StoneCo with the idea of bringing [Gibson] and she’s a really phenomenal spoken word poet,” said Pride Week organizer Leah Krandel ’09. “There were a lot of students that already knew her work and it was a really great show, a lot of really positive energy.”

Though Gibson was sick for the reading, she performed through her illness and delivered over an hour of spoken-word def poetry. “I was drawn towards it because I’ve seen some def poets in the past and I think that’s a really neat way to convey ideas and a good media form, and it definitely was a break from what pride week usually is,” said Joey Wendel ’11. “Going to hear a personal narrative and then on top of that being def poetry was a good experience”.

Another new addition to this year’s Pride Week was the Queer Music and Open Mic Night at Bob’s Underground Café on Wednesday. Krandel was inspired to include this event in Pride Week’s’ festivities after a speaker at the Midwest LGBT College Conference gave a presentation concerning support for queer artists in popular culture today. At the open mic night, students were encouraged to perform songs with queer themes, that were written by queer artists or just generally gave queer individuals a chance to perform.

“I think it got people thinking more about who they listen to that’s queer and why they don’t support more queer music,” Krandel said. “It was a nice time to come together as a community to come and hang out together.”

As the kickoff to a religions film series sponsored by the Center for Religion, Spirituality and Social Justice and Stonewall Resource Center (SRC), Thursday’s events included a viewing of the film “Call Me Malcom,” about a prospective seminary student undergoing a gender transition from female to male, accompanied by a bake night sponsored in part by the Grinnell College Christian Fellowship (GCCF). This collaboration between the GCCF and the SRC happened for the first time during last year’s pride week, and participants on both sides hope to continue fostering positive dialogue. “We felt like Stone Co and GCCF were two groups that might have been perceived to have some kind of unresolved tension in the past,” Sara Woolery ’11 said. “These two groups ought to be reaching out to each other and doing something fun and that’s where the bake night came the movie came in—it created a dialogue and discussion element.” Lilly intern Katie Snipes helped to facilitate a discussion after the movie.

An all-campus e-mail sent by QPOC member Isaiah Iboko ’12 notified the student body about the Day of Silence, which will be occurring today until 6:30 p.m. The purpose of the Day of Silence is to bring attention to those that have been silenced as a result of their sexual orientation.

At 10 p.m. this evening, the QPOC Drag Show will take place in the Harris Center. All donations received during the performances will go to the AIDS Project of Central Iowa.

The last, and perhaps most interesting, addition to Pride Week is an all-campus flip-cup tournament sponsored by StoneCo and the Grinnell College football team.

“Jon Richardson [’10] came up with [the idea],” Krandel said. “They thought it would be such a great collaboration as a way to demonstrate how supportive our community is.”

Registration, which has occurred all this week, consists of a team of three and a ten dollar entry fee. Each team of three will be paired with two other teams of three in an effort to get often socially separated campus factions to intermingle in a queer-friendly environment.
Pride week concludes with the Pride Parade this Sunday, April 19, beginning at 11 a.m. in the East Campus parking lot. Many campus groups organize cars, but any and all students at large are encouraged to participate. “I’m going to be in the FAC [Feminist Action Coalition] car. Last year we like wrote ‘FAC has pride’ or something on the car, but we have a lot of streamers and make posters and painted our faces,” Friel said. “The Pride Parade was kind of emotional last year and I think it’s a really good way to go out with a bang.”

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