The Sacramento State PRIDE Center held its first “E-PRIDE Week” last week, culminating with Queer Prom, due to shelter-in place orders.
The PRIDE Center has been hosting its annual PRIDE Week since the location opened in 2006.
Queer Prom began in 2019 when Sac State students told PRIDE Center Coordinator Melissa Muganzo they wished to participate in a queer-affirming prom for adults.
The PRIDE Center collaborates with various departments on campus and in the Sacramento community for PRIDE Week.
“PRIDE Week and Queer Prom go hand in hand with the campus’ effort to increase [a] sense of belonging,” Muganzo said via email. “They both allow students to see themselves in the community as well as meet others who understand why celebrating identity is important.”
When Sac State canceled all in-person events on March 12, the PRIDE Center sought out PRIDE Week events that could adapt to an online format. The center ended up holding a Queer/Trans Faculty and Staff luncheon, a Frozen 2 film screening and discussion and Queer Prom all via Zoom.
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“I feel sad that we had to move all campus events to virtual because I love being able to hands on interact with our community but I am so beyond glad we were able to adapt and keep the fun going,” said Mykaila Garcia, a PRIDE Center student assistant via direct message.
During last year’s PRIDE Week, theater major Jamie Nielsen recalled participating in a group discussion and an activity which focused on the importance of consent while making crafts like condom earrings.
Nielsen said online events are not ideal, but the effort to shift PRIDE Week online was appreciated.
“With [PRIDE Week] being online, I’m just glad it’s happening,” Nielsen said. “It’s a little depressing but no one had to make online events.”
A total of 65 people, including family members, partners, and friends attended the virtual Queer Prom with DJ Mario Esco on April 17. Some participants dressed up for the event and many danced to songs by artists like Lady Gaga and Sean Kingston.
Everyone adjusted their webcams and stood up to dance when Esco played “Cha Cha Slide” and “Cupid Shuffle.”
“[Queer Prom] closed to [the song] I’m Coming Out’ by Diana Ross and everyone was flooding the comments with love and gratitude for one another and I started tearing up,” said Siena Maen, a PRIDE Center student assistant.
Additional reporting by Khala Clarke