This month Gaypril is being celebrated at St. Mary’s; it is a month that is dedicated to celebrating gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and other non-heteronormative students through a number of outlets, including (though not necessarily limited to) movie screenings, speakers, and performances. This month, there have been – and will continue to be – a number of events alternatively sponsored by the St. Mary’s Triangle and Rainbow Society (STARS) and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Student Services. Though these groups are dedicated to the LGBTQ culture at St. Mary’s, they welcome students of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions, regardless of whether or not they identify as LGBTQ.
The first event scheduled was meant to be was held on Friday, April 6, at 9 p.m., in DPC: the “Much Ado About Something Masquerave.” This was a formal dance celebrating LGBTQ culture at St. Mary’s; it was canceled, however, according to sophomore Will Moring, who had intended to attend.
On Wednesday, April 11, on the Campus Center patio, free t-shirts were distributed, and food and music were provided, from 11a.m. to 1:30 p.m. At 4:45, students returned for a group photo, wearing the shirts that had just been distributed – as well as other LGBTQ clothing – as a way of showing support for the LGBTQ community.
The final event, sponsored by LGBTQ Student Services, is a screening of the movie Pariah in Cole Cinema, on Tuesday, April 17, at 8 p.m. Pariah is a film that was directed by Dee Rees, released in 2011, and tells the story of a young African American woman, Alike (portrayed by Adepero Oduye) who is embracing her sexual identity as a lesbian. She lives with her parents and younger sister in Brooklyn, and her identity is a topic of discussion that causes tension in the household.
The film premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was given the award of Excellence in Cinematography, as well as some later awards, including Best Independent Film and Best Breakthrough Performance, given to Adepero Oduye. In addition to those awards, Dee Rees won Best Director and Best Original Screenplay from the Black Film Critics Circle. Soon after its premier at the Sundance Film Festival, Pariah was screened at a film festival in Toronto, in September 2011. With film critics and reporters saying that it argues good points, the film has, in general, received positive feedback and criticism.