Portland State students who have never wrestled in a pool of lube will have their chance next week in the PSU Park Blocks – this is one of the activities on the docket for Pride Week 2006: Show Your True Colors, a series of events and panels to occur May 8 ?” 12.
Also called Queer Awareness Week, the mix of events is design to publicize the fledgling four-month-old Queer Resource Center (QRC), said Cody Rowan and Aether McKinley, event volunteer coordinators.
The QRC and Queers and Allies have teamed up to formulate a list of activities (beyond the wrestling) that they hope will cause a stir around campus and reflect the diversity of the queer community.
Rowan invited anyone to be the Portland lube champion. “It’s an essential college experience,” McKinley said.
All are welcome to participate in the week’s events. There will be an emphasis on educational advocacy. Roundtable discussions and panels will include “Gay Sex Tourism in Costa Rica,” “Queers in Religion,” “An Intro to Bondage with Dark Lady” and “Basic Rights Oregon/Love Makes a Family,” and will address topics such as anti-sodomy laws in the U.S.
Dark Lady, a well-known bondage specialist in Portland, will discuss political and safety issues surrounding bondage, discipline and sadism/masochism, or BDSM. McKinley said the talk would be more of a discussion about kink than technique. Dark Lady will also talk about equipment and terminology, safe sex in general and abuse versus play.
It is unclear whether Dark Lady will bring props.
“We couldn’t find a room with hooks in the ceiling,” joked Zena Piccolo, awareness week coordinator.
Several of the events are products of senior capstones, Piccolo said, such as the discussion “Gay Tourism in Costa Rica.” The discussion will entail “talking about the reality of gay sex-workers in foreign countries and the gritty underground society that they have to live in,” Piccolo said.
Emphasis will be on the spread of disease and raising awareness of what goes on in the queer community in other countries.
“It’s a pretty dark topic, but we want to make people aware of what’s going on in other countries with gays,” she said.
Other activities involve a workshop to develop drag characters (with the opportunity to perform at the Queer Prom next Friday). The workshop will entail creating a stage name and developing a style.
“Maybe you are really quiet in real life and you want to have a loud, flamboyant stage personality,” said Rowan, a member of the participating performance troupe Ubergay Cabaret.
Neither McKinley nor Rowan will reveal what Thursday’s show, “Live Acts of Homosexuality,” will entail. It will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in a tent on the PSU Park Blocks. “See queer PSU students in action,” McKinley teased.
The events will show people the diversity of the queer community, develop connections and get people involved, the pair said. Rowan noted that the week is important because it gives a voice to a community that historically has not had one. “We’re not that different from anyone else,” Rowan said.
The term “queer” is an all-encompassing word for homosexual, transgender and bisexual individuals. The African-American homosexual community and Midwesterners do not particularly prefer the term queer, they said. McKinley noted that the term may be evolving.
Ultimately, the group hopes the week will let PSU students know that the QRC and Queers and Allies are available. And yield a lube wrestling champion.