The festival, hosted by the UCSB Pride Steering Committee, included student drag performances, henna and body art, a sex fair tent for students 18 and over and information on prominent issues within the LGBTQIA community. The event began at 3 p.m. and continued until nightfall, featuring performances by musical guests DJ Alex Pasternak, DJ Mycole Beeson and hip hop and freestyle artist Big Freedia.
Stacie Taniguchi, a third-year film & media studies major, said this year’s Pride Week engaged the student body in a number of fun, informative events.
“This whole week of UCSB Pride Week and Isla Vista Pride Festival is to celebrate and learn more about the queer community,” Taniguchi said. “During the past week there have been a lot of education workshops, so today is more about fun. I know people might be wondering, ‘Why pay for a sex fair?’ but it is really a whole week about educating and spreading knowledge about the LGBTQIA community.”
Taniguchi said holding the festival in the center of Isla Vista encouraged more students to attend.
“Previous years, people would do it in one of the local parks, but now we did it in Pardall for more accessibility and visibility,” Taniguchi said. “We want people who are both in the queer community and people who may not know anything to come out and have fun and help spread awareness.”
Jeff Kim, a first-year biology major, said his experiences in less-accepting communities inspired him to help organize the Pride Festival and encourage people to celebrate their individuality.
“My high school was a really conservative environment, and there wasn’t any queer awareness, so this is a really personal thing for me because I wish something like this would happen where I am from,” Kim said. “I think the most positive aspect of this week has definitely been the visibility aspect and the awareness that comes with it — fight ignorance with visibility.”
Hazel Putney, a fourth-year sociology and feminist studies major, said the festival continues to improve every year.
“This is the 23rd annual Pride Week, and these 23 years have always been focused on the school, so now we are bringing it more to the community,” Putney said. “We really make a point to have the festival in Isla Vista because of hate crimes going on in I.V. — that is where a lot of the hate is happening. We want to get the word out.”