PRIDE Week entertains, educates

by Sam Rauschenfels | 5/5/11 10:00pm

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05.06.11.news.Pride
by Nik Medrano and Nik Medrano / The Dartmouth

"I find that the different LGBTQ communities here on campus tend to be isolated, but PRIDE is a time when people come together," Pulito said.

Pulito and Towle led a core group of approximately 10 organizers in a planning effort that began Winter term with weekly meetings. The group established a "skeleton schedule" of events that occurred during previous PRIDE Week celebrations and that organizers wanted to see again, Pulito said. The week began with a cookout on the Collis porch and the annual, popular "gender-bending" fashion show called Transform on Monday evening.

The fashion show which was moved to the beginning of the week rather than the end as in past years was extremely successful, according to the show's executive director Mont Reed '12.

"It was a great kickoff to the PRIDE Week," Reed said. "As it was the kickoff, it had to be really huge."

Reed, who has been involved with the Transform show since his freshman year, said he jumped at the chance to organize the show this year because of his "different vision" for the event.

"This year I wanted to push the issue of actually expressing the gender binary [and] find a way to express that in a true way," he said. "I kind of wanted [the show] to be more Fashion Week but transformed."

In addition to a longer runway and a dramatic "model entrance" highlighted by red lights and curtains blown around by a giant fan, this year's show featured more student models approximately 60 in total and a faster pace than shows in the past, Reed said.

The show featured two videos produced by Marguerite Imbert '11 featuring interviews in which Transform models shared their thoughts on issues of gender and fashion. Reed also filmed the models preparing before the show and converted that footage into a short introductory video, he said.

Attendees enjoyed a soundtrack of house, techo and dubstep music, during which Imbert played short sound clips from her interviews in order to further express the gender binary message, according to Reed. Members of the slam poetry group Soul Scribes and the dance group SHEBA also performed during the show, he said.

Reed said he hoped the show encouraged audience members to rethink certain preconceived notions about gender and sexuality.

"I really wanted [the attendees] to think about the way society influences the way we dress," he said. "I wanted it to be a show of exploration and education."

Kate Shelton '14, who attended the opening barbecue and the Transform show, said she especially enjoyed the barbecue because it brought people together and helped them "gear up" in the name of PRIDE. While Shelton appreciated the fashion show, it could have pushed preestablished boundaries even further, she said.

"I thought it was a really good event, but I think it could have been even more provocative and gender-bending," she said.

Gay adult film star and safe sex activist Brent Corrigan delivered a lecture about his experiences as a gay film star and director on Tuesday afternoon. Corrigan spoke about how he became involved in the gay porn industry and the ramifications of becoming involved in adult films before he was legally eligible, according to Edgar Sandoval '14, who attended the lecture. Corrigan told audience members that he lied about his age and starred in his first films when he was 17. Corrigan was later sued by Cobra Video for his deceit, Sandoval said.

Tuesday's schedule also featured a "Getting Bi" workshop with professional speaker and workshop leader Robyn Ochs. The workshop facilitated discussion regarding bisexualism, which is not as "well represented" as other sexual orientations, Pulito said.

Both Towle and Pulito said they are excited for the remaining upcoming PRIDE events. A day-long LGBTQ "Read-a-thon" featuring LGBTQ-themed plays and stories will take place Friday at the Hopkins Center, Pulito said. In the afternoon, students can partake in an aerial photograph on the Green featuring PRIDE supporters and community members. A Dartmouth Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transexual Alumni/ae Association dinner and an LGBTQ poetry and musical gathering called "OUTspoken" will take place in the evening, he said.

Shelton, who plans to attend additional PRIDE events this weekend, said that the wide variety of opportunities to explore gender and sexuality is valuable for the entire student body.

"I want to go to OUTspoken because it looks really interesting," she said. "I feel like performance is a good outlet for a subject like this."

Sigma Delta sorority will host a "Rubix Cube" dance party on Saturday evening, according to Pulito. Dance party attendees are encouraged to dress in one color and trade clothing items with other attendees so that each person leaves wearing "the colors of the rainbow," he said.

While the week's events both entertain and educate, Pulito and Towle said they hope individuals also use PRIDE Week for self-reflection.

"I hope that when people walk past the PRIDE flag hanging from Collis porch, they take a second to think about how they situate themselves in the Dartmouth community ... [and] with the LGBTQ community at Dartmouth," Towle said.

Pulito also hopes that PRIDE week shows underclassmen that the College is a welcoming place for students of all sexual orientations.

"[Members of the Class of 2014] have so much promise as a class to be the most embracing class yet at Dartmouth of the LGBT community," Pulito said. "PRIDE is about changing the way Dartmouth looks at each other."

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