Queer Student Alliance kicks off Pride Week with educational events

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Students around campus will raise a rainbow-colored flag this week in efforts to promote a stronger and safer LGBT community on campus.

Today marks the beginning of Pride Week, a week-long educational awareness campaign meant to unite the University’s LGBT community and provide a comfortable place for people to talk about their sexuality. Kent Kasischke, deputy director of the Queer Students Alliance, said this year’s Pride Week is a lot bigger than it has been in the past, encompassing more than 15 events and featuring undergraduate students, graduate students and UT alumni.

Pride Week is highlighting two events happening today starting with a “Word! Your Language Matters” workshop by Voices Against Violence at 6 p.m. The Federation of Lesbian, Ally and Gay Sports will also host a dodgeball tournament.

Queer Students Alliance, a Student Government agency, hosts Pride Week every year in conjunction with many LGBT organizations on campus. Kasischke said his agency has been working on Pride Week all semester, and he encourages people to go out to the events.

“One of the things about Pride Week is that people feel the events are restricted to LGBT individuals, but we’re very open to any allies,” Kasischke said.

Kasischke said one of the events he worked hard on is a blood drive occurring Wednesday sponsored by the Queer Students Alliance, American Medical Students Association and University Democrats. He said many do not know the U.S. restricts gay men from giving blood because, according to the CDC, men who have sex with men have a higher risk of catching HIV.

“I may not be able to give blood, but you can give blood for me,” Kasischke, who identifies as a gay male, said. “I would love to give blood. I want to inform people and help them understand the struggle I face.”

Kasischke said SG allocated $4,000 to the organization this year, of which about $1,500 goes to the cost of Pride Week. Since the organization partners with others to host the event, Kasischke said, many of them provide their own funding for their events.

Printed on Monday, April 16, 2012 as: Pride Week unites diferent UT student organizations