Chris Gateley / Mustang News

Pride Month is back this April with 32 events hosted by the Pride Center, Safer and the Cross Cultural Center. Pride Month is an opportunity to celebrate the LGBTQ community.

Pride Center Coordinator Charley Newel said students organize many of the events themselves, striving to create a community open to those who need a place where they feel safe and find a sense of belonging.

“The students play a really big role in creating a welcoming atmosphere to anyone that comes into the Pride Center,” he said.

During Open House, many parents and students asked Newel if there is a place at Cal Poly where LGBTQ students can go to feel safe. Newel was proud to share that the Pride Center was an inviting space for everyone at Cal Poly.

“It feels good to be able to ensure them that there is a place for them here,” Pride Center staff member and ethnic studies junior Jobe Williams said.

Graphic communication senior Morgan Gutierrez is a performer in Original Women’s Narratives (OWN), one of the Pride Month events presented in collaboration with the Gender Equity Center. Her goal during Pride Month is to open the eyes of the Cal Poly community to people unlike themselves.

“Hopefully, when people see these stories, they will realize that it’s normal for people to be different,” she said. “They have to respect that those who are different have to own their differences to have a place in this world.”

Newel said Pride Month aims to go beyond affirming and validating the queer and trans community. Rather, it celebrates the lives of the unique individuals that make up the San Luis Obispo community and encourage LGBTQ people to be unapologetically themselves.

“It’s about showing that the [LGBTQ] community is out here, it’s present at Cal Poly on campus, even though we don’t see it all the time,” Williams said. “Pride Month is a chance for people to know about us and see what we have to offer.”

Here are some of the upcoming Pride Month events:

Trans Fashion Show
April 22 in Chumash Auditorium, 6 to 8 p.m.

At the Trans Fashion Show, a runway will go through Chumash Auditorium, featuring transgender and gender nonconforming students and community members.

“It’s a better way to recognize all the ways that gender identity can manifest in a person and how they choose to express their gender through clothing and appearances,” Williams said.

Original Women’s Narratives
April 28 in Chumash Auditorium, 7 to 10 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m.

OWN is a collection of monologues and scenes written and performed by female-identified students, inspired by their own experiences.

The performances are written, directed, produced and presented by students. They explore subjects like culture, body image, sexual orientation and more. While some cast members write and perform their own stories, many of the show’s actors will be performing narratives written by other students.

OWN is organized in collaboration with the Gender Equity Center. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Pride Prom
April 29 in  Performing Arts Center Pavilion, 8 p.m. to midnight

Pride Prom is a prom experience for the LGBTQ community aimed at giving them a space to feel safe and welcome. There will be a DJ, food and a photo booth to recreate the classic prom experience. Tickets are $10 at the door and the event is open to everyone.

Know Your Status
May 11 in Julian A. McPhee University Union (UU), Room 220, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Know Your Status is an HIV awareness event to inform the public about HIV and dissolve stigmas surrounding the disease. It will feature an HIV speakers panel that will  include medical professionals, people living with HIV and Cal Poly professors. After the speakers panel, there will be a reception with a comprehensive sexual health resource fair, including free HIV testing. The first 80 people who attend will receive a free lunch.

Drag Show
May 12 in the UU Plaza, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Rebelling against traditional gender norms, drag show performers will present a wild, theatrical show complete with makeup, hair and costume changes.

“Drag is a way to celebrate different ways of expressing our gender identity,” Newel said. “It’s going to be a fun celebration of our student artists and performers.”

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