UNCG celebrates Pride month this April with a cornucopia of LGBTQ+ centered events. The Office of Intercultural Engagement (OIE) kicked off Pride with an at-home campaign for Trans Day of Visibility.
The OIE produced an official Zoom background for use in classes on March 31 to show appreciation for the holiday. They also distributed information about non-profit organizations that students could get involved with.
UNC Greensboro, or UNC Gay as it’s often known, has had a long history of queer community. Our library houses a digital collection of LGBTQ+ history as part of a program called PRIDE! Of the Community, which labels itself as “the first large-scale initiative to document the LGBTQ+ history of the Triad region of North Carolina.”
Although vaccines will soon be available to all adult North Carolinians. Distancing measures are still necessary until we can achieve a higher percentage of immunized people.
The OIE released this statement to clarify Pride programming, “Due to mandated safety measures surrounding COVID-19, the majority of our UNCG Pride Month Programming will be virtual.”
The OIE’s first full-time LGBTQ+ Outreach and Advocacy Director, Elliott Kimball, expressed how much thought has gone into creating virtual programming that students will have time and energy for.
“I think so many students have been in survival mode this year, leaving evening and weekend programs further down on their to-do lists. We also hear how ‘Zoom’d out’ students are, and we don’t want to add to that.”
He told me it’s been hard to get creative with program delivery since the pandemic began. In 2019 the OIE was able to hold movie viewings, group education activities, and speeches.
Kimball’s favorite part of UNCG Pride is seeing everyone come together to create a diverse array of events. “This is reflective of our campus community. During a ‘normal’ campus Pride month, we have between 25-30 events. So many student groups and departments want to collaborate and host their own events centered around LGBTQ+ students.”
Even the biggest event of the season is a collaboration between the OIE and Campus Activities. Drag Bingo continues this year on April 22. When we will be joined by “RuPaul’s Drag Race superstar Alyssa Edwards.”
In years past, Drag Bingo has been a Cone Ballroom celebration where hundreds of students gather to watch internationally famous drag queens perform alongside local Greensboro favorites. Previous Drag Bingos have featured Stacy Layne Matthews, Miss Kitty Litter, Betty J, Heidi N Closet and Monique Hart.
Kimball left no question as to why Pride is important for UNCG to celebrate every year. “It matters because LGBTQ+ students matter, and because they might not see themselves reflected or represented in as many programs and events throughout the year.”
Pride is scheduled to cap off on April 29 with a virtual Lavender Graduation. An extra graduation ceremony that runs at the end of the fall and spring semesters. According to the OIE, it is designed “to honor graduating undergraduate and graduate students who identify as LGBTQ+ or those who have been significantly involved with the community as an ally.”
No comments have been made yet as to why the Lavender Graduation is virtual, while in-person commencement ceremonies will be happening one week later on May 7-8.