July 16, 2019 | 85° F

Learn, celebrate, gallop into Gaypril with guide to events

Gaypril is a University-wide, month-long celebration of LGBTQIA cultural history and pride. Almost every day for the month of April, renamed Gaypril among the queer communities, there will be crafts, fashion shows, service projects and performances all focused on queer issues and topics. In collaboration with many other student organizations on campus, the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities (SJE) is ready to educate and celebrate with the entire University campus.

Opening ceremonies last Monday night focused on the arts and resistance, a program done in collaboration with the Asian American Cultural Center. There were performances by slam poets Regie Cabico and Staceyann Chin in addition to a writing workshop before the event.

But that event was just the start of a month chalk-full of activities for members of the queer community and allies, and all of them focused on the education, learning and celebration of the queer community, said Keywuan J. Caulk, assistant director of SJE.

“Some other things you’ll see throughout the month is a highlight of the transgender journey and transitions, and breaking barriers (in regard) to that identity,” Caulk said.

There are more than 20 events left for the Gaypril celebration, so whether you’re already involved or are new to the movement, get ready to celebrate Gaypril in style with these tips.

Be Open Minded

If you’re not already well-versed in the contemporary topics and issues of the “q-mmunity,” then there’s a lot of room for growth at Gaypril’s events. Caulk’s advice when going to these events is to “be open minded to the content, to the participants and to the perspective.”

“The goal is never really to get you to agree right away, but to get you to understand what exists,” Caulk said.

So whether you’re attending the always-exciting and vivacious Demarest Drag Show or a more professional lecture or Q&A, focus on being receptive.

Learn Something New

Whether you’re at a film screening, workshop or performance, an important aspect of Gaypril is education. As an attendee, every event is an opportunity to learn something new.

“Take a topic and be honest with yourself, ‘I don’t know enough’ or ‘I don’t know anything’ and attend for education,” Caulk said. “(And) get interested in something you’re unfamiliar with.”

The first educational opportunity coming up is the “Everything You Wanted To Now HS Sex Ed, But Were Afraid To Ask” workshop hosted by RHS-HOPE, happening next Monday at the Livingston Student Center Gathering Lounge.

Have Fun

Amongst all of the fruitful learning opportunities among this year’s Gaypril festivities, there are, of course, some events just for the fun of it.

Coming up later this month is “Lunch and Learn: Queer Comic Super Heroes w/ RU Alumn Christopher Etienne,” which will be focused on graphic novels and queer representation.

Celebrations will continue mid-month with Queer Ball, a wonderful excuse to dress up, have fun and party (safely) in an all-inclusive space. This year’s is the 10th annual ball and will have music from a DJ, messages from alumni and a live performance from LLEGO, a group of talented, queer, people of color.

And to end the month is the Rainbow Graduation Ceremony on May 2. This is a special commencement ceremony dedicated to the LGBTQA & Ally graduates and sign-up to participate are open now.

But as Caulk said, “There’s fun that can happen at every session, whether it's through learning or crafting or whatever it is that’s going on.”

Bring A Friend

With all of the new and exciting information and activities happening during Gaypril, one thing that can make all of the newness feel familiar is bringing a friend. Grab a pal and explore the wonders of queer culture and history as a group.

Become an Ally

If you’re not part of the LGBTQ spectrum personally, one thing you can take away from the teachings and celebration of Gaypril’s events is the importance of being an ally.

Students who attend Gaypril events should leaving want to “become an ally and advocate for these issues and topics and celebrate,” Caulk said.

Brittany Gibson

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