Members of the Queer Straight Alliance.
Cal State East Bay’s seventh annual Queerfest, a weeklong series of events that celebrate people of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, will be held Feb. 13 through 17 on the Hayward campus.
“(The event) is an amazing opportunity for our campus to come out and connect with one another, to really embrace each other and acknowledge that each person can bring there own piece to the event,” said Jennifer Miranda, CSUEB manager of Health and Wellness Services. “Whether (students) feel they are LGBTQ-identified or not, all perspectives are able to be shared at the event.”
The weeklong celebration will feature over 15 events, each dedicated to raising awareness about queer culture, while celebrating campus diversity, she said.
Queerfest will kick off with “Trans 101,” a workshop exploring gender non-conformity, social labels, transphobia and the need to respect an individual’s gender identity. The session begins at 10:40 a.m. Feb. 13 in North Science 120.
Other events that have proved popular at previous Queerfests are scheduled throughout the week, including “Gays, Glue and Glitter” (Feb. 13), “Quoncert” (Feb. 14), “Sex and Chocolate II” (Feb. 15) and the third annual “Queer Performance Festival” (Feb. 17).
Participation has increased annually, and Miranda expects the 2012 Queerfest to draw the largest turnout yet, because of the wide-range of events scheduled this year.
The annual event plays an important role in spotlighting students who have felt invisible on campus in the past, said Diversity Center Assistant Supervisor Anibol Hurtado.
“There are a lot of students who identify as queer on campus and they don’t feel like they’re represented,” said Hurtado. “This definitely opens up an opportunity for students to feel that the campus is becoming a lot more inclusive.”
Queerfest is a collaborative effort, sponsored by CSUEB’s Associated Students Inc. Diversity Center, Queer Straight Alliance and the Health and Wellness Center.
A committee of students, faculty and staff began preparing for the event since last November.
Queer Straight Alliance President Antonio Jackson said organizers hope to raise awareness about gay issues and reiterate to people that they’re more than just the gay group on campus.
“We are the gay people, but we also have straight friends. We’re your uncle, your brother, your sister, your next door neighbor,” said Jackson.
Residents of Pioneer Heights are encouraged to pick up an event passport at the front desk of El Dorado Hall. Students who have 10 or more events stamped on their passport will be entered in a raffle Feb. 16 at the Queerfest Performance Festival to win gift cards for Good Vibrations, theater tickets and more.
For a list of events, visit http://dandeliondancetheater.org/csueb/queerfest.html.