UC Merced Pride Week features drag show, ‘lube Olympics’

Students at the University of California, Merced held a parade and carnival Monday to kick off “Pride Week,” which will culminate Sunday with a four-hour “lube Olympics.”

Lambda Alliance, an LGBT student group, is co-hosting the seven-day event series in collaboration with the “LGBTQ+ Initiatives” program run by the Office of Student Life, according to a university news release.

Other events scheduled over the course of week include “a night of LGBT+ cultural expression,” an “LGBT+ slumber party,” and a drag show that has been held annually at the school for the past 10 years.

“Many individuals come to this diverse campus without a lot exposure to the LGBT+ community,” explained Lambda Alliance vice president Andre Frise. “We like to use Pride Week as a platform to engage that learning opportunity and, overall, celebrate diversity.

“I think building a celebratory campus climate is extremely fundamental for all identity groups on campus to truly feel like this university supports them,” he added.

Pride Week shifted into a lower gear following Monday’s festivities, devoting all of Tuesday to panel discussions and a film screening, but the element of frivolity resurfaces Wednesday with a “gender inclusive treasure hunt” in which participants “track down the gender inclusive restrooms on campus,” followed by a “pride expression wall” where students are encouraged to contribute pro-LGBT graffiti.

Thursday’s programming culminates with a segment called “Express Yourself: Life in Color,” which is described as “a night of LGBT+ cultural expression through dance, spoken word, and music” that will build on a preceding lecture by “Trans* singer/songwriter and motivational speaker” Ryan Cassata.

The weekend features more lighthearted events, such as an LGBT+ slumber party Friday night featuring “karaoke, snacks, and a fabulous fashion show” and the 10th annual production of the “FABULOSITY” drag show on Saturday.

The climax of Pride Week takes place Sunday afternoon, when students are invited to participate in the provocatively-named “lube Olympics” taking place on a campus greenspace.

“Explore the fun side of lube on the Mariposa Lawn as we get down and dirty with safe sex items!” Lambda Alliance states in the event description. “If you’re not down with lubing up, why not try your fashion skills at drag racing and tie-dye a t-shirt, all the while learning about safe sex practices!”

Campus Reform is currently awaiting comment from the university regarding its role in Pride Week. This article will be updated if a response received.

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