Multicolored stripes cover the
entirety of Pomona College’s Walker Wall, creating a vibrant rainbow that boldly marks the college’s north border. This wall painting marked the beginning of Gaypril, the Claremont College’s yearly April celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, ally, and asexual (LGBTQQIAA) pride. So far, Gaypril, organized by the Queer Resource Center (QRC) and many other groups throughout the consortium, has included events such as HIV-testing, T-shirt-making, and a conversation on “out” celebrities.
“There’s lots of transphobia in the media,” said Felicia Agrelius SC ’17, a member of Family, a queer/straight alliance at Scripps College. “I think it’s important to question who is able to come out as a celebrity. People who come out are usually white gay men, or pretty women—people like Ellen [DeGeneres]. It’s a weird dynamic. It’s interesting.”
Another notable Gaypril event this week was “Feministing: Offline & Unfiltered” at Scripps College on
Thursday, April 10, a discussion about Feministing, a website that provides an online community for feminists and encourages activism both on and off the Internet. The event featured transgender writer and activist Jos Truitt, an executive director of the website.
“I think the Internet is a really
powerful tool for activism,” said Sara Scheidemantle SC ’17, who visited the website after seeing a flier.
Family is a group that aims to
“provide a safe space for Scripps students of all genders and sexual
orientations to come together and discuss, celebrate, support, and share issues
and experiences of intersexuality and identity,” according to a description on the Scripps’ website.
Family is holding a cupcake event today, and on April 18, the group will host a mic night event entitled “The Monologue Dialogues: Amplifying Unheard Narratives” as an alternative to The Vagina Monologues, a play written to raise awareness of violence against women.
“The Monologue Dialogues” is part of a national movement that aims to examine the limitations of The Vagina Monologues and “expand and center the communities that often get silenced,” Agrelius said.
“‘The Monologue Dialogues’ is trying to
present a space for everyone to present their own dialogues in whatever ways
they want,” Agrelius said.
Family has recently worked to create a more inclusive space, especially for those who have felt marginalized
in the Family community, including trans* people, people of color, and survivors
of sexual assault.
“We want to include as many
people as we can in dialogues about womanhood and empowerment,” Agrelius said. “The Vagina
Monologues are, in a way, important. They’re
historical for the feminist community. But recognizing their limitations and
creating a space where these limitations can be diminished is really
Family encourages students to submit works to “The Monologue Dialogues,” such as dances, songs, poems, and traditional monologues. Submissions can be made via the Google Docs form linked on the event’s Facebook page, which is titled, “The Monologue Dialogues: Call for submissions!!” Submissions from students across the 7Cs are welcome.
Also part of Gaypril, a discussion about
leadership and collaboration took place on Tuesday, April 8 at the QRC. The discussion, called “QRC Dialogue Series: Building Radical Queer Space,” focused on what
it means to be a part of a group of organizers.
“Organizers here feel really burnt
out a lot of the time,” Agrelius said. “We try to support each other and talk
to each other, but I think it’s important that we’re having a conversation
about self-care. It’s reparative for our community.”
While Gaypril is formally
held in the month of April, it is also a reminder that celebrating LGBTQQIAA
should not be limited to one month out of 12.
Gaypril is about creating a positive space and celebrating, but also is a
reminder that we need to create spaces where people feel safe and comfortable
when talking about trauma at all times,” Agrelius said.
This Saturday, April 12, Gaymer Night will feature video games, board games, and coloring books at the QRC. The weekend’s festivities will be followed by a Kink
Workshop, a session focused on the concept of kinkiness, on April 15 at Health Education Outreach; an LGBTQ
staff-faculty social and mixer April 16 at the home of Pomona Dean Janice Hudgings; and a
series of performances on April 18 at Benson Auditorium. The
performance series, titled “Warriors,” will feature performance artists Patrisse Cullors
Brignac and D. Edwin King.