Everyone is invited to celebrate Pride Week at the University of Utah, Sept. 30-Oct. 4, with daily events incorporating queeroes from both in and around the University of Utah community, including Tony Shirley, Scholarship and Financial Resource Coordinator for the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs (no pronoun preference) shown above.
Language is a powerful tool that can be used to both isolate and unite. Even more significant is the reclamation or creation of terminology to embody a notion or rallying cause.
“The word ‘queero’ was a joking combination of ‘queer heroes,’” Pride Week co-chair Taylor Anderson (she/her) laughed. “But the name stuck.” This practice is not uncommon to the LGBTQIA+ community, which is always consciously evolving their language with the intent to create a more inclusive ecosystem. In this spirit, the Pride Week Planning Committee selected “Queeroes: Reclaiming Hero” as this year’s theme.
“This was chosen because of its resonance with such a wide variety of people,” said Austin Hendrickson (he/him), Pride Week’s other co-chair. “It includes everyone with any queer identity, and we’re hoping that by ‘reclaiming’ the word hero, we can make queero something that the entire community can identify with and find pride in.”
For this year’s Pride Week at the U, the planning committee intentionally worked to incorporate queeroes from both in and around the University of Utah community. Respected artists, LGBTQIA+ alumni, local politicians and proactive UofU students, staff and faculty will all play an active role in celebrating queeroes and educating attendees on the theme.
Amanda Beardall (she/her) has been diligently coordinating with the Alumni Association and Career & Professional Development Center for the Careeroes Pride event — a networking session with LGBTQIA+ alumni and inclusive employers.
“Everyone who comes to our event is a queero,” said Beardall. “You are a queero simply for being employed as a queer and/or trans person. You can be a superqueero by being a role model, mentor and advocate for LGBTQIA+ people in your company and within your field.”
Additional queero-centric events include a “gaymer” night with remarks from Lenore Gilbert, a lecture with activist Tourmaline, a live performance by Rufio with Mel Soul & The Messenger, and a town hall with Salt Lake City mayoral candidates Luz Escamilla and Erin Mendenhall.
“I’m grateful to see engagement in LGBTQIA+ issues from both parties vying to lead our community,” said Hendrickson. “The discussion with the two contenders will center around their platforms for LGBTQIA+ policy — an issue of critical importance to the queer community and all of its queeroes in and around Salt Lake.”