WIU to celebrate Pride in April

Western Illinois University (Photo from Facebook)

Western Illinois University’s (WIU) LGBT*QA Resource Center announced their events for a Pride Month Celebration through April.

In a press release, WIU said that the university celebrates Pride in April instead of June to celebrate and raise awareness for the LGBTQ community at the institution.

“The month of programming allows us to celebrate the strides that the WIU community has made to become more inclusive to 2SLGBTQIA+ students, faculty and staff, while also looking forward to more amazing things to come,” said Kairo Scott, graduate assistant at the LGBT*QA Resource Center. “This year our celebration will aim to center the various identities within the community while also elevating the intersecting identities of our Black, Indigenous, and other people of color that identify as queer or transgender, who are the most vulnerable to violence and discrimination.”

The following events will be held to celebrate Pride Month:

Thursday, April 1, 11 a.m. – 3 pm, LGBT*QA Resource Center: 10th Anniversary Gift Bag Giveaway. To kick off the first WIU Pride Month Celebration and to celebrate the resource center’s 10th anniversary, the LGBT*QA Resource Center, located in the WIU Multicultural Center (MCC) will give away gift bags for the first 100 students. The gift bag includes various pride-themed items, Pride Month Event flyers and Pride Month punch cards to be entered into a drawing for additional prize raffles at the end of the month.

Friday, April 2, 6-8:30 p.m., MCC: Equality Ball. This event provides an opportunity for students to experience a prom/dance that they might not have had in high school due to noninclusive school policies that exclude queer and trans students. As part of this program, there are no restrictions or judgments on who participants bring or what they wear. The theme for the 2021 Equality Ball is “A Fairy Forest.” Refreshments will be served.

Fridays, April 2, April 16 & April 30, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., LGBT*QA Resource Center Lounge: “What’s the T*?.” This event centers on discussions around a number of subjects that are unique to the trans experiences. Snacks and tea provided. This initiative that has been held every other Friday during the Spring semester.

Monday, April 5, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., MCC Lawn: “Honoring LGBTQ+ Musicians and Music.” In collaboration with WIU Honors Student Felicia Lonosky, stop by to listen, reflect and unwind to the songs of LGBTQ musicians to celebrate pride month. The program will showcase music from Janelle Monae, Sophie, Troye Sivan, Hayley Kiyoko, Against Me!, Lil Nas X and more to provide a space for connection and discourse surrounding LGBTQ issues that are embodied in music and artists.

Wednesday, April 7, 5-7 p.m., Multicultural Center (and virtual): Walter Mercado Documentary. In collaboration with Casa Latina, join this Netflix Watch Party. Mercado is a legendary astrologer best known for his saying, “Mucho Mucho Amor” and became an icon within the LGBTQA+ Latinx community. The event will have an in-person screening in the MCC, as well as a virtual component for those that wish to participate from home.

Friday, April 9, 7-9:30 p.m., MCC: Gaymer Night will give students the opportunity to play games, socialize, and have snacks. In past years, Unity and the LGBT*QA Resource Center has hosted Gaymer Tournaments and DnD campaign sessions. This year, the center is modifying the event to include a virtual option for games, as well as board and card games at the MCC. The event will include snacks and music.

Monday, April 12, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., MCC: *Bi*ce Cream Social and Pan Pizza Palooza. Ice cream, pizza and conversation. The event is structured to educate participants about the discourse between bisexuality and pansexuality within the LGBTQ community while enjoying some delicious treats.

Wednesday, April 14, 5-7:30 p.m., zoom: Drag 101 will give participants the chance to receive a live virtual tutorial on drag makeup from a local drag queen and WIU graduate Jordan Davidson. The first 15 participants that sign up will receive complimentary makeup kits for the event. To ensure your kit, complete the sign-up form here.

Monday, April 19, 5:30-7 p.m., MCC: Social Justice Through Music: A Support Group. In collaboration with Honors Student Felicia Lonosky, this single-session music therapy support group will provide the opportunity to use music as a means to reflect on and express the impact of societal issues, both domestic and global. This safe space will curate respect and communal healing through both music listening and creation to strengthen peer support and instill a feeling of empowerment.

Tuesday, April 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. & 2:30-4:30 p.m., zoom. Safe Space Training. Safe Space is an interactive two-hour training, which serves as a “beginner’s guide” to learn how to best assist the LGBTQ community at WIU. To register, complete the sign-up form here.

Wednesday, April 2, 6-8 p.m., Multicultural Center: Living in Color. In collaboration between the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center and the LGBT*QA Resource Center, this panel discussion and presentation will focus on the intersections of being Black, while also being a queer and/or trans identifying person. For more information, contact Kwyn Townsend Riley at [email protected].

Thursday, April 22, noon-3 p.m., MCC Dance Studio: NOH8 photo shoot. NOH8 is a national organization dedicated to ending the silencing of LGBTQ voices. Stop by the Multicultural Center and get your picture taken by a University photographer to show support and learn more about the campaign. Please note that group pictures will be limited to three participants or less and all University COVID-19 protocols will be followed.

Monday, April 26, 3-5p.m., MCC: Pride Flag Canvas Painting. In collaboration with the WIU Women’s Center and the LGBT*QA Resource Center, this event will feature discussions around the usage of pronouns, various LGBTQ identities and canvas painting.

Wednesday, April 28, 6-7 p.m., Zoom: Pride Month Keynote Speaker Bri Sérráno. Sérráno is an adjunct faculty member and coordinator at the Pride Center at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Sérráno is a first-generation, non-binary Latinx queer neurodiverse scholar that focuses their research on transgender students of color in higher education. Sérráno graduated from California State University, Fullerton with two bachelor of arts degrees in sociology and American studies with a concentration in family and education in 2011. In 2013, Sérráno graduated from The Pennsylvania State University’s college student affairs program with a master of education degree. Sérráno is a Ph.D. student in the higher education leadership program at Colorado State University. They currently are an adjunct faculty member, oversee an LGBTQ center, and have worked in higher education professionally since 2013. They do national and regional presentations, consulting, and publications on LGBTQ people. Sérráno’s practical experience includes trans inclusion policy, gender inclusive facilities on college campuses, inclusive language, and a liberation, feminist and decolonial framework.

Thursday, April 29, 5:30-6:30 p.m., MCC: Prideful Relaxation. In collaboration with Honors Student Felicia Lonosky. Through a music assisted relaxation and imagery experience, group members will reflect on what it means to be prideful. Feel free to bring a pillow, blanket, and/or yoga mat.

Friday, April 30, 6-8 p.m., MCC: Lavender Graduation. This annual ceremony is held on numerous campuses throughout the nation to honor LGBTQ students and to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the University. WIU Alumna Molly Holmes will serve as the keynote speaker. The ceremony will also be coordinated with the Lambda Lavender Honor Society’s induction ceremony. Food will be provided for participants, as well as certificates and regalia. To apply for Lavender Graduation, please RSVP by completing the registration form here.

For more information, contact the LGBT*QA Resource Center at [email protected] or (309) 298-4004.