‘Queernival’ event brought LGBT and UTEP community together

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Angel Ulloa

A local drag queen lip-synced to a disco medley during ‘Queernival’ on Oct. 28 at the Union breezeway.

Julia Hettiger, Staff Reporter

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As a way of commemorating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered history month, the Student Engagement and Leadership Center hosted ‘Queernival’, an event that highlighted the efforts of the LGBT community and brought many unique activities to the Union Plaza on Oct. 28.

From stilt walkers to hula-hoop dancers, Queernival brought together multiple organizations and departments, like Sigma Lambda Gamma and the Wellness Program, as well as members of the student body and UTEP faculty in the Union breezeway.

Bianca Arciniega, sophomore communications major and employee at the Office of Student Conduct, said an event like the Queernival is a “positive thing to have on campus.”

“I love it and love embracing it,” Arciniega said. “I love coming together no matter your race or gender and staying together and coming to the Union Plaza for an event like this.”

Many of the participating organizations had booths set up, including the Center for Civic Engagement who had a ball tossing game where participants had to toss a small ball into a cup filled with water and a frog. The winner received a t-shirt or mug.

Damian Smith, sophomore psychology major and employee at the Center for Civic Engagement, said events like these are important because they ensure everyone from different backgrounds are included.

“It’s good knowing there are all these opportunities and events that anyone can participate in,” Smith said.

Marianna Sierra, a junior multimedia journalism major, who is also an employee with the Center for Civic Engagement, said the event was cool because it showed how the acceptance of everyone impacts the university.

“It’s cool because we have to accept our differences and preferences and come together as a community,” Sierra said.

The sorority Sigma Lambda Gamma used their booth at Queernival to support breast cancer victims. For a donation, participants were able to decorate and hang-up a bra of their choice to show their support. Francia Ortega, sophomore math major and a member of Sigma Lambda Gamma, said she believed Queernival showed the student body and faculty’s true character by supporting everyone regardless of their gender.

“It shows that UTEP is open-minded and doesn’t discriminate against anybody,” Ortega said. “And seeing so many people come to it is a great thing.”

The Queernival featured performances by Odd-Lab’s Circus performers, a performance troupe that specializes in fire shows and circus arts. The performers walked around on stilts, rode through the crowd on unicycles and entertained attendees by juggling and using hula hoops. One performer managed to balance himself on a board that was placed on top of a pipe while juggling bowling pins. Another performer executed a split leap while spinning large hula hoops on her ankles.

Jessie Ramirez, a performer with the troupe, said performing at an event like this is a special opportunity because it allows him to embrace social circumstances.

“We do all different kinds of performances,” Ramirez said. “Performing at this Queernival is great, and I love being here and to support any cause.”

Julia Hettiger may be reached at [email protected]