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Pride Alliance to celebrate Pride Month with a variety of events

Since the Pride Week at the University expanded to Pride Month last year, the number of activities offered and number of participants during the month has grown.

This year, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center and the Pride Alliance are organizing 16 events in April, according to Jean Bellamy '19 and Nicolas Freeman '18, co-presidents of the Pride Alliance board.

Pride Alliance is a group that representsthe interests of the LGBT and questioning members of the University community.Andy Cofino, the Center's program coordinator, explainedthe LGBT Center advises, supports and checks in with the program every week, though the group is very student-run.

This year’s Pride Month has many more events, as well as considerably larger expenditures and bigger ticket items, according to Freeman.

“We want to reach out more to the Princeton campus,” they said.

The events include workshops from writer Sinclair Sexsmith on gender, sexuality and trigger warnings, speed-friending and karaoke, film screenings, art exhibits, lectures and cupcake decorating with the Princeton Aces, a group for asexual and questioning students, according to Freeman.

For most events, attendance typically ranges from 40 to 70 people, with heavier attendance for the ticketed events like karaoke, Bellamy said.

Pride Month events kicked off with the “We Are Here” Queer monologues in Wilson College Blackbox Theater April 1 and 2.

“I always think the Queer monologues are very impactful and are able to bring the community together,” Cofino said. “I’m a real believer in art and the power of art.”

Bellamy and Freeman said that they wanted to keep the focus on artists but also Queer activists and writers for this year’s Pride Month.

Bellamy said the Board decided to focus on trigger warnings and dealing with gender in conjunction with sexuality for this Pride Month.

“We want to focus on how to address and respect trigger warnings on college campuses in situations where they tend to be viewed as a joke and how to take care of each other,” Bellamy said.

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Bellamy and Freeman also noted the importance of making the LGBTQ community seem welcoming to prospective students, adding that it is helpful that Preview occurs during Pride Month because it helps make the Queer community more appealing and visible.

Freeman said they were very partial toward the Spring Fling, adance to happen at Campus Club during Pride Month.

“I don’t think there are a lot of times on campus where the general Queer community can come together and socialize,” Freeman said. “A number of Queer students have missed out because of our identities.”

Bellamy said that the Spring Fling is reminiscent of prom, adding that a lot of the undergraduate community wanted that in high school — to have something that’s more formal and dressy, but more accepting, than prom.

Bellamy and Freeman explained that the Pride Board, in partnership with the LGBT Center, decided to lengthen the timeframe to a month in order to accommodate all events. Cofino noted that even before the expansion there still had been events outside of Pride Week.

“I think the programming is wonderful this year — as it is every year,” Cofino said.

The Pride Alliance Board is responsible for the administrative side of Pride Month events and has additional committees made up of two or three people who plan for logistics such as finding space and food for events, Bellamy explained.

Bellamy added that the Pride Board’s mission is primarily social but it is beginning to take on educational and awareness efforts.

“[The Board is] not affiliated with politics. It’s more of a social group,” Bellamy said. “We plan social events and do various other things to promote cohesiveness in the community.”

Bellamy added that the Board wished to balance education with a little bit of fun.

According to Freeman, brainstorming for Pride Month events happens as a Board the month before. The Board is composed of nine elected members and meets weekly for one to two hours, according to Bellamy.

The first semblance of what became the Pride Board assembled in 1972 with an ad that said “Closet Queens Unite! For information about organizations of gay men and women at Princeton call [phone number],” according the LGBT Center’swebsite. The meeting then became the Pride Board, according to Bellamy and Freeman.

Since then, certain traditions have been established for Pride Week, now Pride Month.

The steps to Blair Arch were first taped for Pride Month in 2013 and the steps inside Frist Campus Center are also taped in rainbow colors each year for Pride Month. Additionally, Pride Month usually has a karaoke event with about 70 people attending. Freeman called the event “Queereoke.”

“Pride Board is shifting every year,” Freeman said. “I really hope that next year whoever is on Pride Board reaches out to other communities.”

Cofino said that he likes how the events help show the diversity, depth and breadth of the community.

Bellamy added that she wanted to do something intersecting with race in the future as well, and noted that she hopes to have more transgender activism and awareness for next year’s Pride Month.

Additionally, Freeman said that the group’s plans for next semester include working with Intersecting Queer Identities, a graduate student group that is more political than the Pride Board, among other groups to examine identities and come up with several collaborative events.