UCSB’s Pride Week kicked off yesterday in celebration of the university’s LGBTQIA community and wide range of gender diversity.
Associated Students Queer Commission and Queer Student Union will host a series of open events to address pertinent issues within the LGBTQIA community such as homophobia, stereotypes and sexual assault. Writer, performer and queer rights activist Ryka Aoki inaugurated Pride Week with a keynote address yesterday in Storke Plaza.
According to Pride Week media outreach coordinator Stacie Taniguchi, a third-year film & media studies major, the event is open to all community members.
“UCSB Pride aims to educate and celebrate the diversity within the LGBTQIA community,” Taniguchi said. “It is through events like Pride [Week] that people are able to learn more about the LGBTQIA community.”
This week’s events include a professional drag show Wednesday at 8 p.m. in I.V. Theater as well as a student-run drag show Thursday at 8 p.m. in Corwin Pavilion. Additionally, the week will feature a “Kink, Race & Class” workshop Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Student Resource Building’s Women’s Center Conference Room and a lecture on heterosexist bullying and oppression, also Thursday at 5 p.m., in the MultiCultural Center Theater.
Brent Nakamoto, a student intern for the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, said the celebration offers several opportunities for student involvement.
“There is a wide variety of performances — from comedy to hip-hop to pop to traditional — by any student who wants to participate,” Nakamoto, a third-year art major, said.
In addition, a Queer Wedding will be held Friday at 12 p.m. in Storke Plaza followed by an “Introduction to Kink” workshop in the MultiCultural Center Lounge at 7 p.m. The night will conclude with an LGBTQIA Reception at 9 p.m. at the Beachside Café in Goleta.
UCSB Pride Organizing Committee Co-Chair Edward Muna, a fourth-year political science major, said the symbolic wedding ceremony culminates the week by giving members of the LGBTQIA community the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their relationships.
“The Queer Wedding is a chance to allow any couple or union to show their love for one another or their support for the LGBTQIA community,” Muna said. “Altogether, our week is a moment to acknowledge the queer population and its contributions to our community — to remind the community that we exist.”
Pride Week will come to a close on Sunday with the second annual Isla Vista Pride Festival on Pardall Road from 3 to 9 p.m. A complete schedule of the week’s events is available at http://pride.as.ucsb.edu.