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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Pride Week bridges gaps between private, public life

By Kevin Hong

The Stonewall Resource Center (SRC) is sponsoring Pride Week this week.

“Pride is a word that has a lot of meanings among people who consider themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer,” said Elliot Karl ‘12, SRC Manager. “Politically, ‘pride’ is the opposite of ‘shame’ and is for people who are sexual minorities. A lot of times, because of systematic transphobia and homophobia, we are meant to feel shame about who we are; so pride is a celebration of ourselves, our love, our identity, our sexuality. [Pride week] is supposed to be as inclusive as possible, and at Grinnell, what’s really great about pride is that it is an inclusive pride for allied as well as queer students.”

Katie Wirsing, a spoken word poet brought to campus by SRC staff, performed on Monday in Herrick chapel. Tuesday was “Trans*Day,” with “Cross Dress to Class,” a Transgender Sexuality discussion in Smith Lounge, and the “Paris is Burning” Film Showing and Drag Discussion in the SRC. On Wednesday, there were “What a Feminist Looks Like” activities in the Grille, as well as an LGBTQ Identity in Athletics Presentation in ARH. Thanks to the work done by Javon Garcia ’14, Grinnellians are able to see Esera Tualo, one of only three NFL football players who have come out as gay after their career in the NFL.

“I would say the biggest event of the week is the former NFL player Esera Tuaolo giving the talk ‘Creating a World of Tolerance,’” said Karl.  “This event is of special interest to our campus because I feel like during my time in Grinnell we talked a lot about divisions between athletes and students who are involved in activist organizations, so the idea that there is a gay NFL athlete coming to Grinnell to talk about what it is like to be a gay athlete seems to be very germane to conversations we’ve had on campus in the past.”

Also on Thursday, Cait De Mott Grady is releasing a drag show book in the SRC.

“The SRC this year has really attempted to diversify our program; we had an academic come in the fall, an artist come on Monday, and an activist come on Thursday. We are trying to diversify our events and provide educational, entertainment and activist opportunities, as well as partnering with a number of students organizations, such as the volleyball team, pioneer diversity counsel, and ACE [All Campus Events Committee],” Karl said.

“We are proud to help support the SRC with its Pride Week each year. We have worked together to create one of the most robust schedules in years and couldn’t be prouder,” said All-Campus Events Coordinator Austin Frerick ‘12.

The Drag Show will be on Saturday, and on Sunday there will be a “pride parade” starting at 11:30a.m. in the Main parking lot. The parade will go around the campus and end at the annual BBQueer outside of Cleveland, after which people are welcome to make hand prints on the wall of the SRC.

All the events have been advertised well, and Karl is satisfied with the level of attendance so far.

“Some are more popular than others, but the turn out in general is good. We put posters in the JRC and academic buildings and we send out daily emails,” Karl said. “We have been very proactive in trying to get the information out.”

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