There’s Nothing Wrong with Loving Who You Are: Pride Week
Emma St. Aubin
estau255@uwsp.edu
Don’t ask, don’t tell – or be proud of who you are and do what you want.
Pride Week, hosted by the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), hit the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point last week. The weeklong series of events showcased and promoted Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI) culture, acceptance and involvement on campus.
 
"We believe that Pride Week is a time for students to be able to fully embrace who they are, regardless of their sexual orientation. It’s a way to make sure that the LGBTQI community doesn’t remain invisible; their presence is often disregarded," said GSA President Kassie Baron.
 
The week began with a presentation from YouTube sensation Tyler Oakley about being an activist in the community, a political and religious discussion, the showing of the film "The Wise Kids" and a drag show.
 
Junior Zach Young, the Rainbow Center Director at UWSP, was in charge of the presentation given by Tyler Oakley.
 
"He gave an amazing presentation on how he became an activist and how other people can step up and become activists themselves. It was beautiful and empowering," Young said.
 
The reigning queen of the GSA drag show performs under the drag
name Tamika L. Jones. Photos by Emily Hoffman.
 
The week gave students the opportunity to celebrate their pride in their sexuality and gender, including that of freshman Ryan Hietpas.
 
"As a campus we are trying to promote equality and the ability for everyone to be accepted for whom they are and for whom they like. It’s a time of the year where the LGBT society is able to come together and be able to say ‘I’m proud to be gay,’" Hietpas said.
 
Hietpas, along with hundreds of other UWSP students, attended the infamous drag show themed "Over the Rainbow." Flooding the Laird Room, the show was the most highly attended event of the week.
 
"This was the first drag show that I have ever been to. I didn’t know what to really expect until I got there. Everybody was having an awesome time laughing and screaming for the performers. It was such a positive and energizing show," Hietpas said.
 
The week ended with the showing of "Rocky Horror Picture Show," and a Rocky "whore-r" photo shoot where students dressed as their favorite character from the film.
 
Jaida Dumar performs at the GSA drag show.
 
"Pride Week was a great way to get a message out to students that might be struggling with their own issues that they are okay. They are beautiful exactly how they are and they have an entire community behind them whether they know it or not," Young said.