California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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Queerfest Celebrates LGBTQ Community

Festival educates students on sexual health and LGBTQ issues

A Queer Straight Alliance member hands out information about his club. Queerfest saw a week’s worth of events, giveaways, performances, games, and fun for the LGBTQ community on campus.

The sixth annual Queerfest is back in action this week to celebrate diversity and tolerance on campus.

“Queerfest is a unique issue to CSU East Bay, as we are the only university in the Bay Area that dedicates an entire week to LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer] events, education and celebration,” said Elysse Grossi, advisor for the Queer Straight Alliance (QSA).

Queerfest is a week-long series of events dedicated to educating CSUEB students about the LGBTQ community and how to be an ally, or a reliable and understanding friend.

While Grossi explains that there used to be a lot of resistance to the events from the campus community, now it is much more accepted, having over 800 attendees last year and now teaming up with several departments on campus.

“The festival has evolved a great deal over the last six years,” said Grossi, “and each person that has contributed and collaborated has brought a valuable addition to that expansion.”

With all the attention the LGBTQ community has been receiving from the media—a lot having to do with bullying and subsequent suicides—the QSA feels that now, more than ever, it is important to educate the campus community.

“While our campus has shown a great dedication to the issue of diversity, LGBTQ issues are often left out or overlooked,” said Grossi. “Hopefully, events involved with Queerfest will enlighten our campus community, and possibly set the stage for a more inclusive future.”

With events like the Valentine’s Day Pajama Dance, QSA hopes to appeal to a wide range of people to emphasize the diversity within the LGBTQ community.

But while Queerfest is gaining steam and making progress towards creating a more tolerant campus, CSUEB is still famous for its conservative administration, and the event has taken a lot of flak over the years.

“One of the biggest complaints we get each year is about the name ‘Queerfest,’” explained Grossi. “A lot of people don’t understand that the word ‘queer’ has gone from a derogatory term to one that can be used as an umbrella-term for the LGBTQ community as a whole.”

As the events get less conservative, Queerfest is at risk for coming under serious fire.

“Sometimes, you have to push the envelope to get your message across to your audience, and education is one of the largest goals of Queerfest,” said Grossi.

Overall, Queerfest is so important to the QSA because they aim to inform the campus community while having fun and offering CSUEB a week of good times.

“I do expect Queerfest events to get more popular with students in coming years,” added Grossi. “Inclusion and equality for the LGBTQ community is the civil rights issue of our generation, and it’s an issue that we can’t ignore any longer. This is an issue that affects everyone, no matter what sexual orientation or gender expression, so educate yourself and start talking about it!”

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California State University East Bay
Queerfest Celebrates LGBTQ Community