MU Pride Month to feature events from ‘Queer Eye’ star, on-campus groups

Despite this year’s Pride Month having fewer events than previous years, LGBTQ Resource Center coordinator Sean Olmstead said event’s effects will still be impactful.
MU students posing for a picture to kick off Pride Month on April 1, 2019. Twitter via @MizzouDiveristy

Sean Olmstead, coordinator of the MU LGBTQ Resource Center believes that student organizations collaborating with the center have a lot in store for students this April to celebrate Pride at MU.

Olmstead said the center has decreased the number of events from years past in an effort to alleviate stress on the center and student organizations. He also said he wanted to ensure the best use of the center’s resources from seeing student interests and needs.

This year, there are 20 events lined up throughout April, including an evening conversation with popular figure Antoni Porowski from the Netflix reboot of “Queer Eye.” Olmstead is moderating the event, which is set for April 11 at 7 p.m. in Jesse Hall.

The LGBTQ Resource Center has also posted many different events to its Facebook page for students to partake in, such as “Ace-Cream” — hosted by Aces & Aros to discuss asexual and aromantic identities — and the “Let’s Get Loud Drag Show,” hosted by MU Triangle Coalition for students to come and support student drag performers.

“There are different motivations for going to those programs. They all have their own appeal and different types of audiences,” Olmstead said.

Meanwhile other events, such as “Queer Monologues” and the “LGBTQ Art Showcase,” are volunteer-based events for members of the LGBTQ community to express themselves through art and performance, according to the Pride Month calendar posted to the LGBTQ Resource Center page.

With each event serving its own purpose, Olmstead said turnout varies, but the value of an event isn’t determined by its popularity.

“The people who are interested in that [event] found it to be really powerful and impactful,” Olmstead said.

MU junior Lucy Doll said she hopes to attend as many events as her schedule allows.

“It’s just a good way on campus to show support for members of the LGBTQ+ community and show my friends that are part of the community that people are out there that care,” Doll said.

The center doesn’t look at the turnout as a measurement of success, but rather evaluates attendees’ response to the events, Olmstead said.

Olmstead said he hopes a takeaway from Pride Month this year is for everyone to have a continual appreciation and recognition of the value that various identities and communities bring MU’s campus.

“I say ‘everyone’ because just because I’m part of the community, I may not have that understanding of other identities within the community,” Olmstead said.

After overseeing the LGBTQ Resource Center and Pride Month since June 2015, this April marks Olmstead’s last Pride Month at MU. Olmstead shared his hopes for the future of the event at MU after he graduates in May.

“I want to continue to see the month focus on intersections of identity within it. How are we focusing on queer and trans students of color, how are we continuing to focus on queer and trans students with disabilities,” Olmstead said.

Ultimately, Olmstead said he wants Pride Month to highlight the importance of the LGBTQ community at MU.

“This is a community that exists,” Olmstead said. “It’s a valuable part of our community and that we [should] continue to be supportive and inclusive of everyone.”

Edited by Ethan Brown | ebrown@themaneater.com

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