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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Celebrating Pride Week

Students make buttons at a body positivity Pride Week event sponsored by GoGo. Photo by Mary Zheng.

The staff of Grinnell’s Stonewall Resource Center (SRC) kicked off its annual Pride Week by raising the pride flag on central campus on Friday, April 18. Pride Week continues until this Saturday, April 26, with programming that involves a diverse representation of departments and organizations.

The flag-raising was followed by Spring Drag Show last Saturday, featuring 12 dynamic dance acts. Hosted and organized by Queer People of Color (QPOC), this semester’s drag show raised over 350 dollars for Central Iowa Family Planning.

Students make buttons at a body positivity Pride Week event sponsored by GoGo. Photo by Mary Zheng.
Students make buttons at a body positivity Pride Week event sponsored by GoGo.
Photo by Mary Zheng.

 “Drag show was incredible, it was way more attended than past shows.” said SRC manager Javon Garcia ’14, noting the attendance of over 40 faculty and staff members. 

Deshaun Peters ’14, whose act concluded the show, performed an emotional dance rendition of Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts.”

 “The performance dealt with a lot of the issues I’ve dealt with in my personal life, so it’s a reflection of that. I’ve always had trouble with my own perception of myself, and how I constantly need to perform and meet a certain standard or else I’ll be looked down upon by other people. I really wanted to get out there and fight against those constraints,” Peters said. “This was a piece where I was really trying to tackle against those issues of beauty conformity [and] inadequacy, and that’s why I wanted to get this piece out to people: you don’t need to feel this way. You can feel comfortable in your own skin. You don’t need anybody else’s validation to tell you that you are beautiful.”

“During the performance I felt vulnerable … I was near tears, trying to control myself to keep going; it was so emotional,” Peters added.

On Monday, April 21, trans-rights activist and journalist Janet Mock spoke to a packed room in JRC 101. Mock highlighted trans activists she viewed as role models such as Sylvia Rivera, Maya Angelou, Audre Lorde, Zora Neale Hurston and bell hooks—women of color who continued to inspire her. Mock also discussed her experience as a trans woman of color growing up in Hawaii and the importance of empowering people to utilize their voice.

 “Choosing to tell my story changed my life … I opened up a part of my life that so many people misunderstood and asked me to be silent about,” Mock said. “Never underestimate the power of your voice and experiences.” 

 “I think that her coming to this campus was a really great privilege of ours, to hear about her and her experiences,” said Tracey Cook ’14, when asked about the event. “I took a lot from it. Like, where can the allies come in? And use privilege in a way that is beneficial and constructive and opens up new spaces?” 

This year’s Pride Week involves a variety of departments and offices on campus that the SRC has never previously worked with.

The Russian Department reached out to the SRC to bring Russian film director Dmitry Volchek to campus on Tuesday, April 22, along with the film “The Winter Journey.”

Additionally, the SRC also worked with Alumni Relations to bring Scott Ross ’83, who is now a Des Moines-based artist. His artwork focuses on gay activism, HIV/AIDS and his experiences in the 1980s and 1990s as a gay male. Two of his works are a part of the permanent art collection at Grinnell College.

“It’s amazing that we’re working with Alumni Relations and the Russian department,” Garcia said. “It’s really great that we’re working with different offices that the SRC would never have expected to work with before.”

Pride Week also highlighted the importance of health.

On Tuesday, Des Moines-based Project of Primary Health Care offered free HIV testing. Active Minds’ awareness featured information about queer mental health. On Wednesday, the editors of GoGo hosted a button-making session above the Grill. The buttons were aimed at promoting body positivity, self-love and acceptance. Throughout the week, students also tabled to gain signatures for representation of transwomen and transmen in the new health insurance policy. 

On Thursday, Trans Advocacy Group will host T-Mons, an open-mic event that invites students to express poems and monologues on gender, sexuality and trans identities. The week will conclude with the annual Pride Hand Mosaic in the SRC, where all students are invited to place hand prints on the SRC wall.

When asked what they wanted participants to gain from the events, both Garcia and SRC program coordinator Christian Castaing ’14 emphasized the importance of education. 

“Pride to me is a responsibility to all marginalized struggles, to the needs of those our society ignores. I would hope people step out of their comfort zones, or personal zones of expertise,” Castaing said. “Profess your ignorance of an issue that you have no experience in and do your best to listen and educate yourself.”

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