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April 24, 2015

Annual campus Pride Week offers veritable parade of colorful events

This week marked the beginning of UChicago Queers & Associates’ (Q&A) Pride Week, kicking off a parade of events that began this past Thursday and will run through next Friday.

The events are as diverse as they are many. According to Q&A board member and third-year Kris Rosentel, this year’s festivities are partly rooted in tradition.

“We do Genderfuck every year,” Rosentel told The Maroon in an interview, referring to the drag-themed ball held annually in Ida Noyes. “We also always have some kind of keynote, generally a poet.”

This year, said poet was spoken word artist Kit Yan, whose poems are centered on his experiences as a queer, transgender Asian American. Thursday, April 23 marked the first day of the free festivities, with Yan leading a poetry workshop in the afternoon, then performing in the evening at the FXK Theater in Reynolds Club.

Associate sociology professor Kristen Schilt will also feature in the week’s events, leading a lunch discussion on Wednesday, April 29 at the 5710 Diversity Center. In 2010, Schilt wrote a book about the discrimination trans men face in the workplace, and her recent work focuses more broadly on all cases of shifting identity, covering everything from religious to gender identity.

Conveniently, this year’s Pride Week overlaps with the fruit of a three-year endeavor, the new Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles exhibit, which is on display through the end of the quarter in the Special Collections Research Center gallery at the Regenstein Library.

As a research and oral history intern, Rosentel had seen most of the material in the exhibit before in some context, but was still struck anew seeing the finished product.

“It was really powerful seeing everything put together as one narrative,” they recalled.

Rosentel and their fellow interns, most of whom have since graduated, contributed by conducting interviews with a total of 96 UChicago alumni. Snippets of several interviews were included as part of the exhibit, and the complete interviews are currently being transcribed for Special Collections.

Rosentel noted that the most challenging part of seeking out interviewees for the project was making sure one demographic was not unfairly represented. “A lot of people lined up who wanted [to be interviewed]…. But the issue was that it ended up being mostly cis, gay, white men from the ’70s. After realizing there was a huge focus on this one subpopulation, we focused a lot more on finding people who didn’t fit that demographic.”

Rosentel hopes that Pride Week will be similarly inclusive. When asked about goals for this year’s Pride, they were quick to express a desire in reaching as broad a community as possible.

“Getting more people engaged in the events would be exciting,” Rosentel said. “[We’d like to give] people who are not normally engaged in Q&A a space to explore.”

The full schedule of Pride events is listed below:

April 24: Movie Night

What better movie to show during Pride Week than, well, Pride? Winner of the Queer Palm at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, the true story of an unlikely alliance between a beleaguered miner’s community and a group of London-based gay activists is told with charm, wit, and a whole lot of heart. Starring Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, and Dominic West. LGBTQ Lounge (Room 302), 5710 South Woodlawn Avenue. 6–8 p.m.

April 25: Karaoke Night

Q&A hits Chinatown for a night of fun, friends, and karaoke. Q&A will leave from campus to take public transportation to the venue together. For more details, attendees must RSVP via a Google Docs form available on the Queers & Associates Pride Week Facebook page. PopKTV Karaoke Lounge, 2002 South Wentworth Ave. 7–11 p.m.

April 27: Ga(y)me Night

After a Sunday off, Pride Week resumes with Ga(y)me Night. Board games will be provided; attendees are also welcome to bring their own. Amandla Lounge (Room 301), 5710 South Woodlawn Avenue. 7–9 p.m.

April 28: Queers & Associates Pride Study Break and Meeting

Q&A’s weekly meeting will be open to all, with food provided. LGBTQ Lounge (room 302), 5710 South Woodlawn Avenue. 8–9 p.m.

April 29: Faculty Lunch

Assistant sociology professor Kristen Schilt and author of Just One of the Guys: Transgender Men and the Persistence of Gender Inequality will speak with students in an informal environment. Food will be provided. RSVP via the Queers & Associates Pride Week Facebook page. LGBTQ Lounge (room 302), 5710 South Woodlawn Avenue. 1–2 p.m.

April 30: Creative Craft Night

Q&A will kick it elementary-school style with its penultimate event. Paper, glue, beads, and more will be provided. LGBTQ Lounge (Room 302), 5710 South Woodlawn Avenue. 6:30–7:30 p.m.

May 1: Genderfuck

Q&A’s annual drag ball, a Pride Week mainstay, closes out the festivities. This year’s Genderfuck will feature Chicago-based burlesque dancer Miss Mister Junior, as well as music, dancing, and food. Be there, and be anything but square. Ida Noyes Hall Theatre. 8–10 p.m.

Editor’s Note: Rosentel uses they/them/their pronouns.

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