Athlete Ally pledge signing wraps up Pride Festival

The Bates College student group OUTfront hosts the first Bates Pride Festival, starting with an outdoor concert at noon Thursday, May 5, on the lawn at the student residence at 280 College St.

The concert features the band Time Travelers; two student a cappella groups, the Crosstones and the Merimanders; and the Dynasty Step Team, a dance ensemble. The event includes a barbecue, face painting, T-shirt decorating and a table with information about organizations and resources for LGBT people and allies. The rain site is the Bunker, the 280 College St. basement. For more information, please contact nrankine@bates.edu.

The festival continues through May 12 with a poetry reading, a drag show, a campus-wide gathering to pledge solidarity and other programming. Except as noted, events are open to the public at no cost. Sponsoring the festival are the offices of Bates President Elaine Tuttle Hansen, the dean of students and Intercultural Studies; the women and gender studies program; and the politics department.

For festival information, please contact ddumayas@bates.edu or 808-398-9131.

“My hope is that the festival will promote greater visibility for queer students, faculty and staff, and will also create greater solidarity within the community and allies,” says Don Dumayas, a festival organizer and Bates senior from Honolulu.

A “Pride Poetry Reading” is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Ronj, the student-run Bates coffeehouse at 32 Frye St. Students will read poetry expressing themes of pride, solidarity, visibility and diversity. Chai, tea and cookies will be served.

At 7 p.m. that day, the drag show “Lewistunning Dragapalooza” takes place in Schaeffer Theatre, 305 College St. Organized by Outright L/A with OUTFront, the performance features Miss Eon, Goldie Peacock, Kings of the Hill and others, including Bates student performers. Tickets are $10/$5. For more information, please contact Outright L/A at 207-795-8956 or penny.sargent@outrightla.org.

This is the third annual “Lewistunning Dragapalooza” at Bates, Dumayas said. “It’s a great way to bring together not only OUTfront and Outright L/A but also students and Maine residents. Drag shows are fun because they’re so campy and entertaining.”

A “Queer and Allies Dinner” will be held at 5 p.m. Monday, May 9, in Frye Street Union, 29 Frye St.

Ryan Conrad, a member of the Bates class of 2005, leads the discussion “Against Equality” at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, in Room G21, Pettengill Hall, 4 Andrews Road (Alumni Walk). Conrad will analyze from a queer perspective the rights-based discourse used by the national campaigns for gay marriage.

He examines how this mobilization collapses the queer political imagination into the narrow confines of contemporary gay pragmatism as espoused by gay and lesbian neoconservatives and so-called progressives alike. For more information, please contact rconrad@meca.edu.

The Pride Festival wraps up with an “Athlete Ally” event that will bring together the campus community, including student-athletes and coaches, at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 12, on the Library Quad behind Chase Hall, 56 Campus Ave. The Bates athletic department co-sponsors this event. For more information, please contact director of athletics Kevin McHugh at kmchugh@bates.edu.

Offering the opening address is Hudson Taylor, a former wrestler at the University of Maryland and now an assistant coach at Columbia University, who began an Athlete Allies initiative centered around athletes signing a pledge to respect and value individual differences both on and off the field. The event will include a panel discussion on the theme “Respect for All Individuals,” a group pledge signing and a barbecue for participants.

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