Hello friends! We are Lambda Alliance – a student ran LGBTQ+ and ally support organization from the University of California, Merced. We are hosting our annual Pride Week, from March 30 to April 5, and would love if every one of you could come celebrate with us in our queertastic celebration!
What is Pride Week some of you may ask? Pride is personally different for everyone, but Lambda likes to think of it as an opportunity to publicly celebrate diversity within our LGBTQ+ community. It’s a chance to say to the world, “hey, we are here and we are queer.” Besides showing that we are going to be around for the long haul, Pride Week is a perfect opportunity for building community! It is a time where all come together amidst differences to celebrate a common difference: love.
For this year’s Pride Week, our theme centers on the acronym E.R.A. – Equality Rights Acceptance. Overall, E.R.A. portrays how the recent transitions in equality rights regarding the LGBTQ+ community lend hope for a new era with equality for all. The three pillars of this theme, equality, rights, and acceptance, are the three founding principles every community deserves to be included in an overall society. Once a community is viewed as an equal, their human rights are acknowledged, and are treated with acceptance and celebration of their diversity, can they flourish. The LGBTQ+ community is fighting for equality, rights, and acceptance today in hopes that someday, in a new era, they will be accepted and intolerance would cease to exist.
The Lambda Alliance family was asked what Pride Week meant to them on a personal level, and these are few of the heart-warming responses we gathered:
It’s one of the friendliest places I’ve been.
It’s reminder of the progression of tolerance in the world today.
It makes me feel accepted and supported by others.
It’s an accepting event that is a great way to feel comfortable being yourself.
It means visibility. It reminds people that the LGBTQ+ community exists and cannot be ignored.
It allows one to embrace their true self – regardless of gender or orientation.
It’s about being who you are, inside and out, and being happy about who you are, as a human being.
It’s about spreading awareness and educating the overall community about our LGBT+ community. Also, it is a chance for us to express the other things that make us unique individuals as well as share the adversities that we face.
It’s an opportunity for all to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
We hope that gave you a general feel of what Pride Week is and can be. However, rather than reading what it means to others, come visit our celebration and experience it for yourself! Here is the schedule of events:
Monday | March 30
Pride Carnival 2015
Join us on the other side of the rainbow for a queertastic carnival. Learn about the LGBTQ+ community while getting your face painted, munching on some kettle corn and winning prizes on our carnival games.
LGBT Center Tour
All aboard on the Merced LGBT Center Express! Jump on CatTracks and join Lambda Alliance for a tour of our newly established center in downtown Merced! Meet at the Lambda table to walk to the bus together.
Merced LGBT Center, 1744 G Street
Tuesday | March 31
Come learn about how stereotypes and discrimination can come from more than just the heterosexual community.
Constructing Sex & Gender
UC Merced professor Nella Van Dyke will lead a discussion deconstructing societal understanding of sex, gender and sexual orientation.
A Jihad for Love
In a time when Islam is under tremendous attack from within and without, A Jihad for Love is a daring documentary filmed in twelve countries and nine languages. Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma has gone where the silence is loudest, filming with great risk in nations where government permission to make this film was not an option.
Wednesday | April 1
Guess the Heterosexual
Think you can pick out who fits where in the LGBTQQIA acronym? This panel breaks the myth that people can tell what sexual or gender identity someone has simply by looking or speaking to them. This program is done as a panel style where the audience is allowed to ask almost any question to try and figure out where each contestant identifies in the LGBTQQIA acronym.
Outside the Lantern
Pride Expression Wall
Show your artistic side by sharing LGBT+ encouragement on our graffiti wall.
An interactive dialogue that will shake participants out “audience-mode” into the director’s chair. This workshop will address violence prevention for the LGBT+ communities and empower participants to confront injustice in an effective, nonviolent manner.
Thursday | April 2
Breaking the gender binary, come gain a broader understanding of the trans community.
Gender Inclusive Scavenger Hunt
Explore the bobcat territory and track down the inclusive restrooms on campus to be rewarded with a gift that even Drag Queens and Drag Kings would be honored to receive.
Outside the Lantern
A historical overview of how the LGBT+ community continuously struggled for equal rights as well as how respective society reacted to same-sex relationships. In addition, we will examine why same-sex sexual relationships began.
Queens & Cowboys Meet & Greet
Get the opportunity to meet the directors and actors of the film Cowboys & Queens and have the opportunity to ask them your questions about the show.
Queens & Cowboys Screening
“QUEENS & COWBOYS: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo” chronicles a complete season of the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA). Roping and riding across North America, the IGRA’s courageous cowboys and cowgirls brave challenges both in and out of the arena on their quest to qualify for the World Finals at the end of the season. Along the way, they’ll bust every stereotype in the book.
Friday | April 3
Out in the Workplace
What does it mean to be ‘out in the workplace’? Join our panel of professionals who will provide insight on their experiences.
Lavender Students, Faculty & Staff Unite
Ever wondered who the LGBTQ+ and Allied faculty and staff were? Want to get to know LGBTQ+ and Allied students? Lets come together to create community at UC Merced!
Sex in the Valley, A Positive Take on Sex
Let’s talk about sex! Come learn about the ins and outs of sex positivity in the LGBTQ+ community.
LGBT+ Slumber Party
Come build LGBT+ community with a good old-fashioned slumber party. Enjoy a night of karaoke, snacks, and positively queertastic entertainment.
Saturday | April 4
Fabulosity! UC Merced Annual Drag Show
Doors open at 6:30PM, show beings at 7PM
Queen & King Meet n’ Greet
Come celebrate the fabulosity of the Queens and Kings after the drag show! Get your photos taken with your favorite queen or king and grab a bite to eat.
After Drag Show
Sunday | April 5
Lube Olympics & Drag Race
Explore the fun side of lube in the Mariposa Lawn as we get down and dirty with safer sex paraphernalia! If you’re your not down with lubing, why not you try your fashion skills at drag racing all the while learning about safer sex practices!
Hope to see all your lovely faces there,