On Friday Oct. 28, the Multicultural Center hosted the “QTPOC [Queer and Trans People of Color], MTAC [Muhlenberg Trans Advocacy Coalition] and S.Qu.Ad [Students for Queer Advocacy] Spooktacular,” an event celebrating LGBTQ pride and raising money for Point of Pride. Point of Pride is a fundraiser to let people in the Muhlenberg College and surrounding community have access to free binder and chest-affirming shapewear.
Raising awareness for the fundraiser and educating people on safe binding and tucking was a vital aspect of the event for one of the main organizers, Asherde Gill ’20. Gill stresses the importance of everyone being aware of safe binding and tucking methods, even if they personally are not affected. “There isn’t a lot of conversation around safe binding methods and teaching people the right ways to bind and the right materials they should be using,” said Gill. “I wanted anyone to be involved because you never know who you know…is trans or who might be trans in your life.”
Besides a presentation on safe binding and tucking, there were various panels and activities throughout the three-hour celebration. The event started with spray painting flags, which was then followed by a drag performance by local drag queen Elektra Fearce St. James. While part of the goal of the event was to educate, it was clear this was also a space designed to make everyone feel at home and celebrate being themselves. Gill says this was the main point of the event.
“I think that it’s important for us as a community to celebrate LGBT lives together,” Gill said. “I feel like there’s always pride in the city and pride in New York and pride in Allentown, but I don’t think we’ve ever celebrated as a group on campus. I was looking for ways to bring LGBT people and queer people on campus together in a meaningful way where we could have fun but also learn some things.”
The drag performance was paired with a history of drag panel hosted by Elektra. The panel covered many topics, from Elektra’s own experiences with drag and tips on how to become a drag queen to advice and her favorite Beyoncé song. Having the panel was another aspect of the day that was vital for Gill, who remarked, “I feel like a lot of times we consume drag performance mainly because of RuPaul, but we don’t actually think about the history and the people and the lives that go behind it. We take the language, we take the jokes, we take the memes, but we don’t actually learn about the culture that goes beyond RuPaul.”
While this was just one event at the Multicultural Center, one can recognize the strong sense of community upon first walking through the door. Chrissy Nagrowski ’22 encourages everyone to try going to at least one event at the Multicultural Center.
“They have such an amazing staff. It’s always nice to meet other people that share similar identities to you,” said Nagrowski. “Go and have a good time; there’s always somebody in there, and the people who run it are always willing to have a conversation with you…if you want to get more involved and need help finding affinity groups.”The Multicultural Center hosts events all year long, but their next pride event will most likely take place in the spring. If you would like to donate to Point of Pride, you can do so at https://pointofpride.org/muhlenberg/.