Starting today, the University of Utah community will come together for Pride Week at the U, an annual event that honors LGBTQIA+ histories, cultures, and lives.
Pride Week reflects on the contributions, achievements, and lived experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community and the work that’s still needed to ensure a safe and equitable environment for all. The week also serves as an opportunity for LGBTQIA+ and allied students, faculty, staff, trainees, and community members to celebrate the breadth of diversity at the U.
This year’s theme, “Queer at the Intersections,” encourages everyone to contemplate LGBTQIA+ lives and issues through different intersections of identity, including race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and class.
“To me, the theme means thinking about our community in ways that are nuanced and impactful,” said Dr. Clare Lemke (she/her), Pride Week Committee chair and director of the University’s LGBT Center. “It’s seeing the wholeness of individuals in our community, that their LGBTQIA+ identity exists in concert with their racial identity, with their faith background, with their class status – whatever it might be.”
Lemke also hopes that the week raises awareness of the unique challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ people of color because of their multiple marginalized identities. Studies show that LGBTQIA+ people of color are at higher risk of unemployment, poverty, and homelessness. They also experience higher levels of racial and ethnic stigma, stress, discrimination, and lack of connection within the LGBTQIA+ community.
The week’s virtual presentations will amplify intersectional voices; showcase creative expression; and offer discussions on transitioning, legal rights, and community building. Events also will highlight how LGBTQIA+ people show up in different spaces, such as being out at work, gaming, or in the art world.
“This is truly a cross-campus collaboration. The committee has gotten so creative to make these experiences impactful, fun and meaningful,” Lemke said. “You’re going to learn something, you’re going to connect with others, and you’re going to get a chance to get connected to resources.”
“It’s important to have spaces where people can learn what it means to be in community with queer and trans people, whether it’s something they find themselves doing in their daily lives or not,” she added. “It’s a reflection of who we are as a campus. I’m just really proud of what the committee has done.”
The celebration begins today with the Uniquely U Art Competition, a weeklong online exhibit of work by LGBTQIA+ people and their allies expressing their intersectional identities through art. Online voting will be accessible all week so that the public can vote for their favorites. Later this evening, join Entertainment Arts and Engineering for Gaymer Night, a virtual evening of fun featuring games, music, and multiple speakers currently working in the industry.
During Out at Work on March 30, a panel of alumni will discuss how they navigate being LGBTQIA+ in the workplace, followed by breakout-room talks on various topics, such as building inclusive work environments and managing workplace discrimination.
The Gender Expansive Clothing Pop-up Shop will offer attire to people of all gender identities in a safe, judgment-free environment. You can sign up to shop in person or to receive a mystery pick-up box. The shop will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 31 and April 1.
The Trans Day of Visibility Conference: “What I Wish I Had Known“ on March 31 will present information and resources for anyone questioning, transgender, gender non-conforming, or someone who is in relationship with people exploring their gender. Breakout sessions include discussions on healthy relationships, the medical and legal aspects of transitioning, and a gender identity panel.
Get your popcorn and snacks on April 1 for a virtual movie party screening of the LGBTQIA+ coming-of-age cult classic “But I’m a Cheerleader.” The 1999 film uses satire to explore coming out, conflicts between sexual identity and faith and family, and conversion therapy.
On April 2, Pride Week will host a Queer and Trans Student of Color Social Mixer, followed that evening by the Black Benatar’s Black Magic Cabaret. The virtual magic and drag performance, presented in collaboration with UtahPresents and the College of Social Work, will showcase local performers telling their stories of being queer, Black, or other in America.
And the Winners Are…The 30-minute finale of the Uniquely U Art Competition will be livestreamed on April 3 at 6 p.m. on the LGBT Resource Center’s Facebook page. The winners, two selected by the public and two by art committee judges, will be announced at 6:30 p.m. Each winner will receive a $500 prize.
Learn more about Pride Week at the U and sign up for events at diversity.utah.edu/pride.