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    Posted April 9, 2014 by
    MElieseK

    I'll Have Another Dozen

     
    Have you ever wanted to sit down and eat a dozen donuts? It’s pretty sweet that over the past couple of years, more and more activist conversations have begun to include gender identity, sexual orientation and the systems of inequality that people who identify as other than cisgender(when your gender identity matches the sex you were assigned at birth) or heterosexual contend with. The movement for marriage equality is a huge step towards equity, but unfortunately it only brings to light a small piece of the discrimination that people in the LGBTQQIAAP (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Ally, Pansexual) community face throughout their lives in the United States society and across the globe. The conversations that need to be had cannot happen without the education of a society that has been raised to be ignorant, but many smaller groups and organizations have been working hard for many years to provide that education and to fight for the acceptance and equity everyone deserves.

    There are three specific organizations at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse that have been working for many years to provide safe and inclusive spaces for students and faculty within the LGBTQQIAAP community while simultaneously educating the student body. One way in which they accomplish this is by hosting an extremely successful and entertaining fundraiser each year. The 12th annual Drag Show was held on Friday, April 4th at 7pm in Cartwright Center on the UW-L campus. It was hosted by UW-L’s Pride Center and the student organizations Transform, and Rainbow Unity. Each drag king or queen was a student, faculty member, or alumni of UW-L. They each strutted, shook, and shimmied down a catwalk in front of hundreds of cheering UW-L students and faculty and community members. While each performer preened on stage, audience members ran up and donated cash that was totaled after each performance. A total of over $1,200 was raised from ticket sales and “tips” and was donated to the AIDs Resource Center of Wisconsin. An additional $155 was donated to the UW-L student organization Transform, which advocates for people in the transgender community on campus.

    Needless to say, this event blew me away. This was my second year attending this amazing and unique fundraiser, and the energy and support radiating off of the hundreds of people in the room hit me like a figurative wrecking ball. Knowing that this was the highlight of the year for many performers, and knowing that so many people on my campus and in the community are willing to step outside of the established societal norms to support a fun-loving and inclusive atmosphere caused my pride for this university to swell. For twelve years, the UW-L community has come together to promote a message of acceptance and inclusivity. For twelve years a community has convened annually to challenge the established stereotypes and accepted values in our society. In case you hadn't realized, twelve years of raising awareness and financial support for organizations that refuse to give up hope or lose sight of their values and dreams of equity for all people is pretty remarkable, and I’d have another dozen.

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