April is National Gay Pride Month, or “Gaypril,” and UR’s Pride Network aims to promote awareness of the gay community and its culture through on-campus events and activities. Gaypril commenced with the Day of Solidarity on April 8 – Pride Network hosted a table at Wilson Commons and wore self-decorated T-shirts to recognize gay students and their allies.

The Big Gay Party will kick off at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Drama House. “At so many parties on campus, you don’t see people dancing and if they are, they’re just bumping and grinding,” co-director of the Pride Network senior Dan Lioy said.

At the Big Gay Party, they plan to play the “campiest” music they can find and have people dancing all night. “We want people to just let loose,” Lioy said. The Big Gay Party is alcohol free and free to anyone who wants to come. It may also feature impromptu drag performances.

On “Gaypril” 18, Divas Live is coming to UR, premiering the first drag king, Warren Peace. Joining him will be two new drag queens, Heather Skyy and Miss Kleo, as well as regulars such as Pandora Boxx and Ambrosia Salad. This event is $3 for UR undergrads.

The Day of Silence is another event planned to promote gay awareness on campus. On this day, the gay community remembers those affected by homophobia and heterosexism, Lioy said. For the entire day, those participating will not speak and will carry cards to explain their silence and the purpose of the day. At 5 p.m., they will convene at Wilson Commons and scream in unison to express themselves.

The Pride Network is also sponsoring a film screening on “Gaypril” 22. They will be showing “Beautiful Thing.” This movie depicts a gay couple falling in love and how they deal with other’s reactions and their own coming out.

The Pride Network, founded in 1969, strives to “provide and support an open and secure environment to discuss issues of sexuality and identity, provide information and resources concerning sexuality to all university members,” according to their Web site.

“Since then, our organization has fostered a supportive environment for the university community to discuss issues of sexuality, diversity and tolerance,” the Web site continues.

In addition to weekly meetings, the Pride Network sponsors the “UR a Drag” show in October, among other activities designed to foster support and community at UR.

The Pride Network provides many resources on its Web site for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and their allies as well as social functions.

Fales can be reached at sfales@campustimes.org.

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