Pride 2021 offers in-person, virtual events

The theme, “Queerly Beloved,” celebrates LGBTQ+ identities at Dartmouth.

by Daniel Modesto | 4/29/21 2:05am

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Attendees at Pop-Up Pride enjoyed cupcakes, brigadeiros and pride memorabilia in front of Collis on Saturday. 

Source: Courtesy of Russell Chai '24

Pride 2021, a celebration of LGBTQ+ identities at Dartmouth, began on April 24 and will run through May 8. Unlike last year’s celebration, which was held completely online, programming will include both in-person and virtual components.

According to the Office of Pluralism and Leadership’s website, this year’s theme — “Queerly Beloved” — will “emphasize the beauty” found in the various identities of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Pride 2021 Committee co-chair Jaime Aranzabal ’24 said that to him, the theme is a spin on “dearly beloved” — a common phrase in weddings — and aims to convey a message of self-love. 

“A lot of the people in the LGBTQIA+ community express themselves in a way that isn't the norm,” he said. “I feel like that takes a lot of courage and a lot of self-love in order to do so, so I think ‘Queerly Beloved’ just embraces that.”

The festivities kicked off last weekend with Pop-Up Pride, a grab-and-go event where students could pick up cupcakes and brigadeiros, supplied by My Brigadeiro, in front of Collis, in addition to pride flags and other pride memorabilia. 

Taily Maeda Colavite ’24 said that events such as Pop-Up Pride are important because they show that Dartmouth can create inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ students.

“It's very important to have these kind of events so that the queer community can feel welcome at Dartmouth, because it's the standard for us to be hesitant towards new environments where we’re cautious of people [who could] be wary of us,” Maeda Colavite said. 

However, Maeda Colavite, who said she was unaware that the event was scheduled to happen and attended by chance, expressed disappointment at the lack of opportunity for in-person interaction.  

“I kind of wish [the event] had more things to do, because it really felt like, ‘Just come here, grab some things and then you go,’” she said. “There wasn't any chance to interact with each other, which I think was intentional because we are in COVID times.”

According to Aranzabal, students who signed up to help plan Pride 2021 were split into subcommittees responsible for organizing different portions of the event lineup. One subcommittee planned the Queer Professionals Panel — the only completely virtual event — while others, comprised mostly of students living on campus this term, focused on in-person campus programming, Aranzabal added.

The Queer Professionals Panel — a Q&A panel featuring music department chair William Cheng as well as four Dartmouth alumni speaking about their careers and identities as “queer professionals” — took place on April 28. Pride 2021 committee co-chair Mark Tao ’23, who hosted the event, said that while the virtual format made it harder to create “interpersonal inclusive spaces,” he was “incredibly impressed” by the panelists who shared their personal experiences. 

“I think it really just speaks to how incredibly tight knit the Dartmouth queer community is — not just students, but [also] alums and professors,” Tao said. “These people were so incredibly helpful and were willing to divulge all kinds of different lessons and personal experiences that they've learned.”

Other events scheduled include a Pride movie night on April 30 where two LGBTQ+-themed films, Love Simon and Rafiki, will be screened at Shabazz Tent. 

Pride 2021, in collaboration with The Hopkins Center for the Arts’s Hop@Home program, will bring New Orleans-based hip-hop artist Big Freedia as a keynote speaker for a conversation on her music, queer identity and contribution to the New Orleans bounce scene. This event, moderated by social justice educator Cody Charles, will be shown on Hop@Home and include a virtual meet-and-greet after the event, both of which require registration. In addition, there will be an in-person watch party at Collis Common Ground, according to OPAL’s website.

On May 8, Pride 2021 will host TRANSform, a show that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community through performances by queer Dartmouth students. According to Tao, TRANSform is an “instrumental” part of Pride 2021 because it honors the contributions of Black and Latino queer “ballroom culture,” which originated in New York City as a Black and Latino underground LGBTQ+ subculture where attendees would perform and compete for prizes.

Tao said that TRANSform will be held at Collis Patio, with eight Dartmouth students performing on runways. Virtual submissions of performances will be accepted and shown at the event, which will be moderated by Burlington drag queen Emoji Nightmare, according to Aranzabal.

During last year’s Pride month celebration, the committee worked without a budget because student organizations lost funding from the College due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the committee received $10,000, most of which will go towards paying keynote speaker Big Freedia, Tao said.

Justin Fajar ’24 said that he is especially looking forward to TRANSform and has heard positive reviews of the event from upperclassmen who have attended in the past.

“I hope there are Pride events talking more about intersectionality,” Fajar said. “I think that's a very important topic to be talking about this year, especially between race, sexuality and gender.”

Both Aranzabal and Tao noted the importance of holding an annual Pride celebration. Aranzabal said the events planned by Pride 2021 help strengthen the LGBTQ+ community, especially given the recent jump in proposed laws across the country restricting young transgender individuals’ access to athletics and medical care. Tao said that the anti-transgender youth bills emphasize that “there’s still so much to be done.”

“The fight is not over,” Tao said. “I think that it is really important for Dartmouth to uplift minority voices and support minority local businesses and really express and ultimately help us celebrate queer identity throughout Dartmouth.”