OU expands LGBTQIA awareness, education efforts with ‘Pride Month’

Oakland University expands LGBTQIA awareness, education efforts with ‘Pride Month’
OU Pride Month
Oakland University's Pride Month, which celebrates OU’s diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity, will take place March 12 - April 12.

Oakland University’s Pride Week, which celebrates OU’s diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity, is expanding this year to include a full month of events and activities developed to raise awareness, promote education and foster a sense of community on campus.


“The Gender and Sexuality Center is excited to expand Pride Week into Pride Month to offer students, staff and faculty more opportunities for learning about and celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning and asexual (LGBTQIA) community at Oakland University,” said Grace Wojcik, coordinator of the GSC.


OU’s Pride Month activities will kick off on Monday, March 12 and continue through Thursday, April 12.


“The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that LGBTQIA individuals have had on history on local, national, and international levels,” Wojcik said.


At Oakland University, Pride Month activities and events include:


  • Pride Month Kickoff — From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 12 in the Oakland Room at the Oakland Center, the Gender and Sexuality Center will kick off Pride Month 2018 with a tribute to LGBTQIA art and music. Light refreshments will be provided.


  • Pride ‘Zine-Making Party — Join Feminists of OU at 6 p.m. on March 19 in the Lake Superior B room at the Oakland Center in making a zine on the theme of pride. Feminists of OU will provide craft and collage materials for attendees to make their own zine page. The individual pages will then be compiled for campus distribution.


  • Jen Kober Comedy Show — Jen Kober's powerful performances weave together a southern-style tale of love lost at the buffet, road trip adventures at The Waffle House and midnight mishaps at Wal-Mart.  Originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, Kober has taken her southern-style sassiness to Los Angeles, where she has quickly become a nationally-recognized headliner who has appeared TV on “HBO,” “Showtime” and “FX,” on the shows “The Real Husbands of Hollywood” with Kevin Hart and “The Middle,” and in movies including “Grudge Match,” “Paranoia” and “American Pie Reunion.” She will take the stage at 7 p.m. on March 22 in the Gold Rooms at the Oakland Center.


  • Slam for Solidarity II — Join the Gay-Straight Alliance for their Poetry Slam from 6-9 p.m. on March 23 in room 1050 of the Human Health Building. Poetry Slam allows students to perform their own poetry pieces, or those of another author, in a private setting. Poetry Slam consists of sign-up and open-mic portions.


  • Pride Prom — Join the Gay-Straight Alliance for Pride Prom at 7 p.m. on March 31 in the Gold Rooms at the Oakland Center. This event is positioned to be a fun and meaningful event for all, whether one wants to relive the prom experience or just join in on the fun. Pride Prom consists of a buffet-style dinner, dancing and games, such as a lip-sync battle.


  • 15th Annual Drag Show — The 15th Annual Drag Show is a major aspect of Pride Month. The drag show is the Gay-Straight Alliance’s largest event, with hundreds of spectators each year. Consisting of both professional and student-auditioned performers, this year’s drag show will take place at 7 p.m. on April 5 in the Banquet Rooms at the Oakland Center.


  • 6th Annual Lavender Graduation Celebration — Hosted by the GSC, the Lavender Graduation Celebration serves to congratulate and celebrate the achievements of Oakland University’s LGBTQIA and ally graduates of all levels. If you are a 2018 graduate and wish to be recognized, please complete this form. All are welcome to attend the celebration, which will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 8 in 110 O’Dowd Hall. Lunch will be provided.


  • Selecting and Using Children’s Literature to Discuss LGBTQIA Identities in Classrooms — All are welcome to attend this seminar from 6-8 p.m. on April 9 in 350 Pawley Hall to learn methods for starting conversations with children about gender and LGBTQIA identities through the selection and discussion of children's literature. Dr. Kristin McIlhagga, assistant professor of children's literature in Reading and Language Arts Department at Oakland University will share information on locating and carefully selecting literature. Dr. Jill Hermann-Wilmarth, professor of socio-cultural studies in Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies at Western Michigan University will also share her research and educational experiences in leading elementary-classroom conversations about gender and LGBTQIA identities. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore a variety of books and engage in small- and large-group discussions.


  • Lesser Known Gender and Sexuality Identities — This event will focus on bringing awareness and understanding to some of the lesser-known gender and sexual identities. Individuals who identify with some of these, such as asexual, intersex and two-spirit, will present a panel discussion at 11:30 a.m. on April 12 in O’Dowd Hall. Panelists will share their stories with the audience, concluding in a question-and-answer format.


  • 2018 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference — The 2018 conference theme is “Leveraging Diversity: Stand Up, Stand Strong, Stand Together.” This year’s conference which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 12 in the Banquet Rooms at the Oakland Center, features a powerful agenda of speakers and topics. Attendees will have the option to register for morning, afternoon or day-long sessions. For more information, visit oakland.edu/diversity/conference.


  • LGBTQIA Books for Children and Teens — The Educational Resources Lab (ERL) will present a large display of books, featuring LGBTQIA characters, history and issues, available for check-out to anyone with an OU Grizz ID from March 12 through April 12 in 350 Pawley Hall. A downloadable bibliography is available on the ERL web page at oakland.edu/erl.


  • Pride Book of the Month — “Trans* in College: Transgender Students' Strategies for Navigating Campus Life and the Institutional Politics of Inclusion” by Dr. Z Nicolazzo has been selected as the Pride Month 2018 community-wide book. The goal of this choice is to improve the well-being, retention, and success of trans* students at Oakland University. Copies are available for checkout March 12 through April 12 at Kresge Library.


  • Pride Month Syllabus — The Pride Month 2018 planning committee has compiled a variety of resources and recommended works to advance the knowledge of LGBTQIA culture and contributions to academia, arts, and pop culture. View the syllabus online, March 12-April 12.


“Pride Month would not have been possible without the support of our planning committee and a variety of campus partners,” Wojcik said.


To learn more about Pride Month at Oakland University, visit oakland.edu/gsc/pride-month.