Gender & Sexuality Center

OU’s Pride Month 2021 celebration goes virtual

Events kick off March 9 on Zoom, will continue through April 9

icon of a calendarMarch 4, 2021

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OU’s Pride Month celebration goes virtual
Pride Month 2021
Oakland University’s Pride Month, which celebrates OU’s diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity, is going virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oakland University’s Pride Month, which celebrates OU’s diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity, is going virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Gender & Sexuality Center is excited to deliver Pride Month 2021, which will provide many opportunities for learning, engagement, connection, and community building, which we all can use now more than ever,” said Grace Wojcik, coordinator of the Gender & Sexuality Center at Oakland University.

This year, Pride Month activities will kick off at noon on Tuesday, March 9 with a virtual opening ceremony on Zoom and the 2nd Annual Tim Larrabee Memorial Lecture, which will feature RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Sasha Velour and Peppermint in a conversation on “Queer Activism Throughout History and Today.”

Peppermint is a trailblazing actress, singer, DJ, reality star, and activist. A longtime key figure in queer nightlife, Peppermint’s star rose thanks to her smashing success as the first out trans contestant to be cast on Rupaul’s Drag Race, where she finished as first runner-up in one of the series’ most-talked-about finales. Soon after, she became the first trans woman to originate a principal role on Broadway in the hit musical Head Over Heels.

As an activist, Peppermint has raised six-figure sums for prominent LGBTQ rights groups, partnered with the MAC Cosmetics AIDS Fund and is involved in the HIV Vaccine trials network. She is particularly concerned about the challenges faced by transgender and non-binary people in today’s political climate and takes every available opportunity to speak at universities and to various communities on the issue.

Sasha Velour, a gender-fluid drag queen, was the winner of season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Since winning, she has had top billing in drag shows around the world, including sold-out solo appearances in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Toronto, Vancouver, and Auckland.

Through her namesake production company, House of Velour, she has produced a TV show (NightGowns), a NY Fashion Week Show, a NYC World Pride float, a 300-page art book about drag, an off-off-Broadway show, and a lauded international stage tour (Smoke & Mirrors), creating new business models for drag as art, which Fast Company said was “disrupting the business of drag”. Variety included Velour in the “Power of New York List 2019” and she has made two appearances in the Out 100. She has also spoken at the Teen Vogue Summit, the Smithsonian, and the U.S. Embassy in Singapore, and last year she reached 1.8 Million followers on Instagram.

Following the opening ceremony, the virtual Pride Month celebration will continue through April 9. Other activities and events include:

• 37th Annual Women and Gender Studies Film Festival (Saturday, March 13 at 6 p.m.): The 37th Annual Women and Gender Studies Film Festival presents a discussion of KIKI (2016), a look inside the world of new generation of LGBTQ youth-of-color who practice the performance-based art form of Ballroom. Watch the film for free in advance through Kresge library at then join our Zoom discussion of the film and related issues featuring SE Michigan area LGBTQ activists and Ballroom performers.

• Adding LGBTQ Studies Courses to Your Academic Plan (Wednesday, March 17 at 2 p.m.): Are you a student with a major or minor in the College of Arts and Sciences, or Undecided? Interested in learning more about LGBTQ identities and experiences? Join us for this virtual event to learn how you can add LGBTQ Studies courses into your degree plan through a minor, Exploratory or electives. Personalized guidance will be available from CAS Advising and the Women and Gender Studies department.

• Trans Rights Are Human Rights: Virtual Discussion Panel (Thursday, March 18 at 1 p.m.): OU Libraries will host a virtual panel discussion, “Trans Rights Are Human Rights,” featuring panelists from Affirmations, the Ruth Ellis Center, ACLU Michigan, and the trans community discussing issues like: access to housing for trans people; employment (finding safe & accepting workplaces); violence faced by trans individuals; reproductive health and rights; and other issues affecting the trans community. - success

 Hot Topics in LGBTQ Film, Media, and Video Games (Tuesday, March 23 from 4-5:30 p.m.): Join Film Studies and Production to learn about LGBTQ+ media as part of Pride Month! Hosted by the Gender & Sexuality Center. - success

Virtual 17th Annual Drag Show (Friday, March 26 at 7 p.m.): Join the Gay-Straight Alliance for their annual drag show! GSA will stream a compilation of pre-recorded drag performances by OU students. This is a fun event where we can express ourselves and come together as a community to celebrate explorations of gender expression. All are welcome!

Creating Inclusive Spaces for Transgender Students at OU (Tuesday, March 30 at Noon): Come learn how you can help create inclusive spaces for transgender students on campus at OU. This program will be an opportunity for faculty and staff to incorporate equity and inclusive into their professional development. In this interactive session, you will learn about the unique challenges transgender and gender non-binary/non-conforming students face on campus. Through the use situational scenarios, you will be able to practice different tools and strategies to best support transgender students in curricular and co-curricular settings. Additionally, available resources that support this student population will also be shared.

Q&Gay with RLA (Wednesday, April 7 at 7 p.m.): Participate in LGBTQ+ trivia with the Residence Life Association! This is a trivia-style event where players will receive prizes for the most answered questions (all relating to LGBTQ+ history and facts).

Drag Race Bingo (Thursday, April 8 at 7 p.m.): Join Student Program Board for Drag Queen Bingo featuring Alyssa Edwards from Rupaul’s Drag Race!

• Lavender Graduation Celebration & Awards (Friday, April 9 – All Day): Join the Gender and Sexuality Center as we celebrate and recognizing graduating LGBTQ+ students from both the classes of 2020 and 2021 in a virtual ceremony! As part of the 2021 Lavender Graduation Ceremony, the GSC is creating a video montage. The GSC is seeking submissions of videos expressing well-wishes for the graduating students. Videos can be submitted by students, faculty, staff, or departments. To submit a video tribute to Lavender Graduates, please visit To view the event, visit

All events are free and open to the public. For more information about Pride Month at OU, visit

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