Cal Poly’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Center will host its annual Pride Week from May 9 to 15. The week will feature more than 15 events for the LGBTQ community of San Luis Obispo, their allies and anyone who wants to learn more about a widely misunderstood group of people.
“I look forward to Pride Week all year,” Kris Gottlieb said. “It will be a blast for anyone who comes.”
The week was kicked off Sunday as members of Spectrum (Cal Poly’s LGBTQ club) painted the Cal Poly “P” in rainbow colors. Spectrum attained permission to paint the “P” for Pride Week from the Mustang Maniacs, who are in charge of maintaining the “P.”
The last time the “P” was painted rainbow colors with permission was five years ago, but every night, someone hiked up and repainted it white.
“We are hoping it will stay rainbow all week this time,” said biological science senior and Pride Center student coordinator Seth Winkenwerder. “But if it doesn’t, we’ll be right up there painting it rainbow again.”
Aside from the painting of the “P,” Pride Week officially begins in Sequoia Lounge at 8 p.m. with the “Pride Week Kickoff” event, where students can learn about the Pride Center. The event, as well as three others, is sponsored by the University Housing Company and is restricted to Cal Poly students, primarily those who live on campus. All events not presented by University Housing Company are open to the public.
Pride Week’s second event will be held Monday on North Mountain Lawn, and will also be presented by University Housing Company. This “Rainbow Tie Dye” event will be held from 4 to 6 p.m.. It will a great opportunity for students to have fun and network socially, said Jessica Cresci, a recreation parks and tourism senior and Pride Center student coordinator.
“It’s (Pride Week) not just for gay people,” said architecture junior Elizabeth Chamberlain. “It’s for Cal Poly students.”
The third event is a film presented by Spectrum. The film is titled “A Queer Guide to Entering the Work Force,” and will be shown on Monday in Building 52, Room C-36, from 6 to 7 p.m. Directly following the film, a “LGBT Square Dance Workshop” will be held in the University Union (UU), room 207 from 7 to 9.
Tuesday will feature three more events. From 11 to noon in UU room 220, Soup and Substance will present a panel of transgender people who will discuss their experiences living in San Luis Obispo. The event is titled “Breaking the Silence: Transgender Voices in the SLO Community,” and will feature a free meal.
At 7 p.m., University Housing Company will present “Cooking in the Canyon” in the large conference room in Poly Canyon Village. This will be a chance for LGBTQ students and allies to hang out and cook vegetarian fajitas.
Also beginning at 7 p.m., the Pride Center will host “Let’s Get it On!: Safe Sex Workshop.”
“Pride Week is a time for the entire campus to celebrate gay rights, to be educated and raise awareness,” physics senior Chris Brown said. “Many of these events will teach people important information that they wouldn’t necessarily be exposed to in normal classes.”
Wednesday’s events will be kicked off with an “Ally Training Workshop,” which will be held from 12 to 2 p.m. in UU room 219. This is one of the most popular and important events. It will be an opportunity for people to learn acceptable terminology in the LGBTQI community and how to be an effective ally.
That evening, Women’s Program and Services and Spectrum will present a film titled “If These Walls Could Talk 2.” The screening will be held in the UU, room 220, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Also, from 8 to 10 p.m. in Yosemite Lounge, University Housing Company will be host its final event of the week. “Gay, Straight, or Taken” will feature six to seven Cal Poly students in a game-show setup, where the audience will try to guess who’s gay. It has historically been one of Pride Week’s most popular events.
Thursday’s events begin with a barbeque lunch hosted by Theta Chi. The lunch will have vegetarian options and will be held on Dexter Lawn from 11 a.m. to 1. The meal will cost $2; the proceeds benefit the AIDS Support Network.
The Pride Center will later host a “Transgender 101 Workshop,” from 2 to 4 p.m., in the UU, room 219. This workshop will cover various terms under the “transgender umbrella,” as well as explore different institutional, societal and individual prejudices present today.
“I’m very excited about pride week,” journalism freshman Alice Terz said. “Even though I’m straight, it is tons of fun, and a great chance for the majority on campus, to support the cause of a minority.”
Thursday night at 8, the national social fraternity for gay, bisexual and progressive men Delta Lambda Phi will host its annual and notorious “The Dollhouse: Drag Show and Benefit,” at Downtown Brewing Company. Tickets will be $12 in advance from Boo Boo Records or Ticketweb.com and $15 at the door.
Friday will feature an event presented by the Courage Campaign titled “Courage Academy: Progressive Voter Education.” The forum will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 in UU, room 216, and will discuss issues concerning the LGBTQ community that will be voted upon in the upcoming elections.
“The biggest idea behind Pride Week is to spread the word: to educate and celebrate,” Winkenwerder said. “It’s great to have a whole week of our own because otherwise it is difficult to get the message out. There’s a lot of people who aren’t happy that we’re as active and visible as we are, but for the most part they stay quiet about it.”
Pride Week’s closing event and grand finale will be the “Pride Week Prom: Studio 54,” featuring DJ Mikey Lion, and a remake of Andy Warhol’s glamorous Studio 54 nightclub. The prom will be held on Saturday night in Chumash Auditorium from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and costs $10. Hors d’ourves and beverages will be served. Allies are welcome and encouraged to come everyone needs to bring a Cal Poly ID or accompany a Cal Poly student.
“This is a good chance for people who didn’t get to go to prom in high school, to re-live what they may have missed,” Cresci said.
Some high schools do not allow students to attend proms with gay partners, and people are also more reluctant to “be out” in high school, Cresci said. “Here we provide a safe environment and a prom you won’t forget,” he said.
Overall, Cresci said the LGBTQ community has seen little objection in San Luis Obispo, aside from bad looks.
“Though San Luis Obispo is more conservative than larger cities in California (like LA or San Francisco), most people are pretty respectful,” she said. “If they disagree with you, and it’s generally just a matter of them being ignorant or uninformed.”