sheila sobchik

This year’s CommUnity Pride Week will be the biggest and best ever if the event organizers have anything to say about it.

Cal Poly’s Pride Alliance, with support from Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals United (GLBU), have planned six days “chock-full of pride events” to mark the fourth year of CommUnity Pride Week, also dubbed “Poly Pride Week.”

“It’s a week of fun,” said English freshman Angela Kramer, a student coordinator for the Pride Alliance. “We invite everyone to come together and celebrate the (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community.”

The week’s events get underway today with slam poetry at 7 p.m. in Philips Hall, where top national slam poets will compete in a slam-off, and top campus slam poets will showcase their talents as well.

Kramer said the Pride Alliance is “hoping to fill the place” for the show, and expects a big turnout on Thursday night as well, when Tristan Prettyman performs for an 18-and-over crowd at Downtown Brewing Co.

“This year we really went all out,” Kramer said. “We got a lot of support from the community and we had the means to do a lot more than we did last year.”

Pride Week will wrap up Saturday with a Youth and Student Empowerment conference that will highlight with a talk from “The Real World: Chicago” cast member Chris Beckman.

Other events include Tuesday’s UU Pride in the Plaza and a march from Dexter Lawn to the University Union, where marchers are encouraged to wear a pride shirt. Wednesday night will feature a GLBU fund-raiser at Tortilla Flats and on Friday there will be a barbecue, starting at 5 p.m. and leading into the movie “Brother Outsider,” which will be shown later in the evening.

“The goal is to educate the students of Cal Poly to the different lifestyles that students have,” said GLBU treasurer and senior architecture student Keith Asada. “We’re getting our face out there so that people know gay people are on this campus.”

The week’s events are aimed at creating a community out of everyone on campus, which Kramer said is the reason for the original “CommUnity Pride Week” title.

“When you look at the rainbow color, it’s fun,” she said. “Why exclude a huge group of people, like heterosexuals, when they can have fun too?”

Kramer said the only part of Pride Week that may be controversial on campus is a display depicting cardboard cutouts of same-sex couples walking down the aisle, a display that was showcased on Dexter Lawn last year as well.

Both Kramer and Asada acknowledged the egging of pride booths that occurred in the past year, but both said they do not expect similar behavior from students during the 2006 Pride Week.

“I think Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo as a whole are kind of like Candyland. I think gay people are, if not accepted, at least tolerated,” Asada said.

Kramer agreed and said, “I don’t think there’s that fear that you’re going to walk down the street and someone’s going to call you names.”

Pride Week is only one of five major events the Pride Alliance takes part in every year, Kramer said. The other four are National Coming Out Day, Transgender Remembrance Day, World AIDS Day and National Handholding Day.

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