Queer Week 2016 impacts students and community


First-year biology major, Sophia Balme (right) and first-year business administration major, Tyler Wallace (left), take advantage of the Pride themed interactive photo booth. Photo credit: Jae Siqueiros

With Queer Week 2016 coming to a finish, we reflect on the impact that this week has had on Chico State and within the community. The Associated Students Gender and Sexuality Equity Center, Multicultural Greek Council, Chico State Pride, Office of Diversity & Inclusion and Chico State Housing have held events all week to reach out and honor the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting.

On June 12, 2016, 49 individuals were killed at Pulse, a nightclub in Orlando, Florida and the individuals that lost their lives that night are being honored across the nation. With Queer Week coinciding with this tragedy, the GSEC decided to make the direct connection with Pulse by their theme, “We All Beat With One Pulse.”

UHUB was filled with enthusiastic students who enjoyed music, dancing, snacks and games in honor of National Coming Out Day. Photo credit: Jae Siqueiros

Margot van der Bie, Queer Program Coordinator at the GSEC, reflects on Queer Week as a positive experience saying, “We really wanted to allude a feeling of resiliency, community, unity (and) solidarity.”

GSEC interns and staff pose for a commemorative photo op at the conclusion of Queer Week 2016. Photo credit: Jae Siqueiros

The Multicultural Greek Council was also a collaborator for Queer Week, with the 2nd Annual Drag Show being put on by both organizations. Over 600 people were in attendance and the success of Queer Week had materialized.

“This whole week has just been about building bridges and finding ally-ship,” van der Bie said. “Folks to stand in solidarity with.”

Another purpose of Queer Week is to help educate. It is meant to educate students and community members on the issues and discrimination that LGBTQ+ people face every day.

GSEC staff member, Seve Christian and Women's Program Coordinator, Rachel Biccum, enjoy face painting at the Pride Party on Friday. Photo credit: Jae Siqueiros

Rachel Ward, Director of the GSEC and senior business finance and women’s studies major, had some personal takeaways at the conclusion of this week.

“Just be mindful when you’re meeting anybody…and to really not assume their sexuality (or) gender based on little things like their gender expression, what they’re wearing, how they’re talking,” Ward said. “I think that it’s really important that we just don’t rely on limited stereotypes and misrepresentation in the media.”

Overall, Queer Week 2016 was a wild success. The wide arrangement of events, from queer feminist speaker Michelle Tea and the “Coming Out Party” held at the UHUB from Chico State Pride and Housing, along with others like the “2nd Annual Drag Show” and the “Pride Party” held at the GSEC shows student and community support and recognition of the marginalized group that makes up the LGBTQ+ community.

A banner to commemorate Queer Week 2016 was adorned with the handprints of students and community members. Photo credit: Jae Siqueiros

“We All Beat With One Pulse” will be remembered by all and if you are in need of resources, please visit the GSEC at BMU 004 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Jae Siqueiros can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.