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On April 1, Cal Poly kicked off its annual Pride Month: a monthlong celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) community on campus.
The monthlong period consists of multiple scheduled events each week, some of which are educational and some of which are social and community-building. Some examples of events include Queer 101, Picnic with PFLAG, Queer Movie Night and Gender Equity Movement Training.
Student assistants are greatly responsible for planning the event.
The funding comes primarily from the Pride Center, which uses its funds from the Instruction Related Activity (IRA) and from student success fee funding. In addition to funding from the Pride Center, some money comes from different organizations on campus, such as the ASI Student Government.
“The mission of the month is to break down stereotypes around the LGBTQIA community, to raise awareness and for queer-identified students to have a sense of pride in their identity. And for the campus to focus on and celebrate those identities,” Pride Center Coordinator Adam Serafin said.
The event first began in 2001, back when it was a weeklong event known as CommUNITY Pride.
At the second annual CommUNITY Pride event, the Cal Poly “P,” which had been painted rainbow, was painted over twice. The gay pride booth on campus was pelted with raw eggs later that week. It was these phenomena that led to the opening of the Pride Center in 2002.
“Whenever there’s an event like that (one that celebrates LGBTQ identities), there’s gonna be people questioning it, but the good news is that we got the Pride Center out of that,” Serafin said.
The Pride Center began hosting the event in 2003, which expanded to the 30-day celebration known as Pride Month in 2012.
“A lot of us have been through a lot, so it’s fun to have a monthlong event that celebrates all the identities of the LGBTQIA spectrum,” said Chad Eckman, graduate assistant for the Pride Center.
The overall event has been a huge success, and there has been plenty of support from students all over campus.
So far, the most successful event has been the Trans Fashion Show, which had a turnout of over 100 people. Pride Prom, which is the month’s final event, is traditionally the most popular.
Students of all identifications are encouraged to check out this month’s events.
“If people are looking for the opportunity to get connected and take part in community-building, whether they identify as queer or not, I think Pride Month is a great opportunity for them to meet people within the queer community, as well as meet students connected to the Pride Center,” Serafin said.