Pride Week ‘celebrates difference’

Julie Spierer, Special Features Editor

Pride Week is an annual week-long event at the University that seeks to celebrate gender and sexuality inclusion and raise awareness and support for the LGBTQ+ community. The week is sponsored by the Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA) and Bucknell Student Government (BSG).

Rainbow Run

The week kicked off on March 24 with GSA’s third annual Rainbow Run 5K. At different stations along the route, students were splattered with paint of all colors of the rainbow. Individuals were given the opportunity to pre-register in the LC mall for $10, or sign up at the event for $15. All proceeds went to the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP), a social services organization located in New York, N.Y. that aspires to assist lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, two spirit, trans, intersex, gender non-conforming, and HIV+ immigrants who are currently in detention centers, risk entrance into immigration detention, or have recently been released from an immigrant detention center.

“Given the urgency of the work that QDEP does, especially in light of the disgusting xenophobic rhetoric promoted by the current U.S. administration, we thought they are an important cause to support.  We will also be collecting donations for QDEP at the Friday night Uptown event and at the parade!” Taryn Urban ’18 said.

GSA encouraged students to get a team together comprised of members of another club, or a group of friends. The organization or club with the highest participation won a catered meal, which was SpeakUp.

“I signed up with other SpeakUP peers and we were our own mini team: we ran together the entire time even though Matt Drescher ’20 was cruising through; Anthony Harris ’20 was running barefoot because he came not wearing sneakers, and I ran half of it with green paint in my left ear. So the whole run was just ridiculous and hilarious and we were laughing (and panting) the entire time. It was a really beautiful morning and I was so happy to run as an ally of the LGBTQ community with my friends,” Megan Ganning ’18 said.

Drag Ball

Pride Week continued on Saturday evening with the Drag Ball register at Uptown at 10 p.m. Drag Balls are historically a very important part of queer culture. The show featured professional drag queens Kandy Muse, from the Haus of Aja in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Neon Calypso, a Boston native who is now a regular performer in Sasha Velour’s “Nightgowns” showcase. The show also featured drag performances by seven University students, including both drag queens and kings.

“This year’s drag ball was our most well-attended and successful yet!” President of GSA Laura Poulton ’18 said.

Urban, who was responsible for organizing the event, affirmed that it was “extremely satisfying to see such a great turnout and see how much fun everyone was having” and that it was one of the highlights of Urban’s University career. “Drag is still seen as weird or even immoral by a large number of people, so the fact that so many people attended makes me believe that popular attitudes towards the queer community are shifting in a positive direction. Most of all, I was glad to be able to create a space where LGBTQ students at Bucknell could express themselves through performance while everybody cheered them on,” Urban said.

“The Drag Ball register is such an important event held each year at Uptown and to see such high attendance this year from folks in the queer community and many others was wonderful! The performances by both the professional drag performers and the student performers were outstanding and energizing,” Uptown event staff John Quinn ’18 said.

Alcoholic beverages were provided for students 21+, as well as a wide variety of different foods. After the performances, students lit up the dance floor in a dance party.

“[The Drag Ball] got the highest attendance in the history of holding the event at Uptown,” Quinn said.

Queer Climb

Pride Week took an adventurous turn at Queer Climb at the Outdoor Education & Leadership Climbing Wall on March 28. Attendees were provided with resources about queer and inclusive climbing groups across the United States.

Queer Art Night

GSA and the Samek Art Museum will host a special Queer Art Night from 6-8:30pm at Uptown on March 30. Painting supplies will be provided, as well as pieces of art from the Samek Gallery as a source for participants’ inspiration.

The event will include a presentation by Director of the Samek Art Gallery, Richard Rinehart, on the evolution of queer art. “Hopefully this will provide inspiration for participants’ own paintings!” Poulton said.

Those who are 21+ may receive a wristband that allows for them to enjoy wine and all guests can enjoy a cheese and cracker platter as well as vegetable spring rolls.

Pride Parade

The University’s celebration of Pride Week will conclude on March 31 with the Pride Parade. March 31 is also Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual international event dedicated to the acknowledgement of transgender individuals and raising awareness of those discriminated against as a result of their gender identities.

This is the first year that GSA is partnering with organizations outside the Lewisburg community. Members of the Susquehanna University GSA and Bloomsburg Equality Alliance, as well as the Danville chapter of PFLAG, the nation’s largest family and ally organization, will be participating. The event will bring together these organizations, as well as others, both on and off campus, together in support of the LGBTQ community.

All are encouraged to wear the colors of the rainbow and arrive outside of the Commons at 2 p.m.. The route will head down 7th Street and along Dent Drive, and there will be a reception to follow for all participating organizations.

“The parade not only makes Pride Week very literally visible on campus, but also provides an opportunity for participating organizations and clubs to build community and network with each other,” Poulton said.

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