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Flags representing the Transgender, Pansexual, Bisexual, Asexual, Lesbian and Gay communities are planted at Howard Park along College Street in Athens, Ohio, ahead of Pride Week on Sunday, March 20, 2022.

Pride week educates, gathers students through conversation, activities

Ohio University Student Senate will be hosting pride week from March 20 to March 26. Through conversation, performances and activities, pride week aims to connect and educate those who choose to participate. 

With a week full of events, there will also be pride flags displayed at Howard Park and from the fifth floor of Baker University Center. There will also be rainbow lights lit up in Baker Center. Luvina Cooley, LGBTQA+ affairs commissioner for Student Senate, said the lights and flag add to the visibility aspect on top of the events being held.

“I think for many students, this is going to be really their first pride week, not only at OU, but it could be their first Pride in general,” Cooley said. “So, I think it's a good community building opportunity, and it's an opportunity for students to realize that it's OK, and I think it's especially important right now in light of current legislation all across the country.” 

A drag show will take place Monday in Baker Center Theater at 7 p.m. Those who wish to attend can purchase a $5 ticket online. The event will be hosted by Athens’ own Kazma Knights and feature Plenty O’ Smiles, Sassy Frass and A.J. Spanks.

Sarah Doherty, assistant director of the LGBT Center, said the center will also be posting informational content about drag and drag culture on social media as a part of its pride week programming.

“It's an opportunity for the Ohio University community as a whole to experience LGBTQIA culture, to learn about LGBTQIA issues and to expand everybody's mind and understanding, which is what college is for,” Doherty said.

A showing of Paris is Burning will take place Tuesday at the Athena Cinema, 20 S. Court St. Although it is a ticketed event, tickets are free and can be obtained once at the cinema.

Wednesday will bring discussion to the week with a conversation about being queer in the workplace. Equitas Health will be leading the event over Microsoft Teams. 

“They're going to be doing a discussion about being queer, specifically trans, in the workplace,” Cooley said. “Because, obviously, we’re in college and being queer in college, it's very different than being queer in a professional workplace setting.” 

An LGBTQ+ Student Town Hall will be taking place Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Walter Hall, room 135. There will also be a virtual option. Cooley said she has gathered many administrators to help execute the event.

“President Sherman will be there, at least one representative from all of the D&I (Diversity and Inclusion) offices will be there, many of the college deans will be there and along with Mayor Patterson and three City Council members,” Cooley said. “We're really hoping to get word out about that so we can have folks come. It'll be a really good time to voice any concerns that they have, any questions that they have about D&I practices or policies that are happening both in the OU community and also the Athens community in general.”

At 4 p.m. Friday, there will be a multicultural LGBTQ+ roundtable, which will bring conversation and have room for questions.

A queer craft social will be held Saturday at 12 p.m. in Baker Center, room 366. There will be coloring pages, canvases, paint and more, giving participants something to take home at the end of the week.

Lee Peters, LGBTQIA+ affairs senator, said the craft social is what he is looking forward to the most because it will be a great opportunity to get to know people who he may not have been able to meet yet.

“I would love to see many people at all of these events, and I'm very excited to attend myself,” Peters said in an email.

Though pride week activities end Saturday, there are still ways to show pride, like carrying a pride flag or wearing pride colors. 

“There's definitely going to be something that someone is going to be interested in,” Cooley said. “We have socializing events, we have educational events, and I always like to pivot it, as there's always opportunity to learn and grow.”

This isn’t only a week for queer students, Cooley said. It’s also a chance for allies to understand what it’s like being queer and existing in the world as a queer person. 

Doherty agreed and said the events will be dynamic and exciting. 

“This is the easiest, lowest barrier way for folks to get connected to the LGBTQ community and also a pretty fun way for folks who are less familiar with LGBTQ community and issues to get to know us,” Doherty said.


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