Get out your rainbow flags and celebrate UCSB’s 12th annual Queer Pride Week.
Today is the first day of Queer Pride Week – a week of discussion, exploration and celebration of queer culture at UCSB. The week’s events will include an ice cream social, drag show, queer wedding and two nights of film, all aimed at educating people about queer issues.
“The point of Pride Week is to assess how far the queer movement has come and look at where it needs to go for queers to attain equality in society,” Queer Student Union Co-chair and fourth-year microbiology major Brandon Marich said. “It is also an event to promote the idea that it is OK to be queer, bisexual, transgender or questioning.”
The event will kick off with a rally and ice cream social today at noon in Storke Plaza. Dawn Thomas, a Los Angeles-based musician, will perform and rainbow sherbet will be served. A candle-making lesson will be held at the MultiCultural Center Meeting Room at 3:30 p.m. and an open-mic poetry reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the MCC Lounge. The day’s festivities will end with coffee at Hillel at 10 p.m., when the Jewish queer community will meet to talk with each other and discuss the week’s events concerning Holocaust Remembrance.
One of Queer Pride Week’s most popular events, the drag show, will be held at noon Tuesday in Storke Plaza. The Disposable Boy Toys will be joined this year by a drag troupe from the Queer Student Union and a professional drag queen. Later, Hate Incident Response Coordinator Brandon Brod will give a presentation on hate crimes and hate incidents at 4 p.m. in the MCC Meeting Room. Sarah Crowley of Students Stopping Rape will host a workshop on domestic violence in the queer community at 5 p.m. after Brod’s presentation.
Wednesday at noon in the Rainbow Lounge on the third floor of the UCen, Ted Burnes will facilitate a discussion between Mark Schuller and Simone Chess on social justice and peace movements from the queer perspective. This discussion will be followed by a presentation on bisexuality by assistant professor Tania Israel at 4 p.m. in the MCC Meeting Room. The day’s events will end with an evening of queer cinema at the MCC Theater at 6 p.m. Featured films include “Women Organize!” “Black Sheep,” and “A Litany for Survival.” The film event, sponsored by the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, will continue Thursday night at 9 in the MCC Theater with more movies.
Also on Thursday, Men Against Rape will host a workshop on sexism, homophobia and rape culture at 3 p.m. in the MCC Meeting Room. A presentation will also be given by Melissa Wilcox at 6 p.m. in the MCC Theater on “Queer Religiosities in the U.S.” – a look at different queer religious groups and how religion and homosexuality can coexist in the U.S.
“[Wilcox] is really good at breaking down the examples people get from the Bible to allow prejudice against queers,” Marich said. “She shows how a lot of the Bible has been manipulated by people to use against queers.”
Queer Pride Week will come to a close on Friday at noon with the 12th annual Queer Wedding in Storke Plaza. The event will be officiated by the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Michael Young.
“The Queer Wedding is the most important statement we make during Pride Week because one of the most obvious disparities between the heterosexual and homosexual couples is the right to marry,” Marich said. “The queer wedding is a chance to protest that and also a chance for couples to express their love and commitment in a safe, open space.”
Queer Pride Week organizers have been discussing and planning potential events for this year’s Pride Week and raising funds since the end of Pride Week 2002.
“We’ve been planning it for several months,” QSU secretary and senior computer science and sociology double major Nelson Maltez said. “There are a lot of people who put a lot of time into making sure this happens.”
A major component in preparing for Queer Pride Week has been fundraising. Maltez said he did not have an exact final cost for all the events yet, but said over 20 organizations donated money to fund the events, including Associated Students’ Student Coalition on Racial Equality, the MCC, the Isla Vista Community Relations Committee, the Women’s Center and the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity.
“We couldn’t have had Queer Week without the financial help of numerous groups on campus,” Maltez said.