Tie-dye fun for ‘Gaypril’

Samuel Towns

For those of you who think the month we’re in right now is April, you can just put those silly little notions to bed.

On Wednesday, April 13, I discovered the fourth month of the year has in fact come to be known as “Gaypril.” The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and ally (LGBTQIA) Resource Center has requisitioned these 30 days to be used in celebration of their efforts to support the LGBTQIA community.

Last Wednesday, the event was held at the University Playhouse and afforded attendees the joy of tie-dying their very own Queer Alliance T-shirts, which on the back states: “Because everyone’s a little queer.”

Tie-dying got its humble beginnings in the late 1960s and continued on into the early ‘70s. It was popularized by rock ‘n’ roll bands of that era and came to be a reflection of that culture.

Through the process of twisting or folding a shirt and then banding it up with rubber bands, a unique pattern can be dyed into the fabric by dipping the shirt into colored fluid. Often times, an assortment of brilliant colors is used to add to the radiant effect.

Also at the Playhouse was a Dance, Dance Revolution (DDR) pad where participants would battle head to head in order to find out who has the quickest feet on campus.

Sarina Smith, the Queer Alliance’s Vice President, helped to make Gaypril and its splendid goings a reality. The Queer Alliance’s Mission Statement states their goal is to “provide a supportive network, a positive social outlet, and a caring environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally communities within the University of Missouri – Kansas City.”

With more events like the one held last Wednesday, Smith and the alliance are well on their way to achieving that goal.

The group’s president is Wick Thomas. Thomas’ accolades are up on the Alliance’s website and include the following commendations:

“Wick has been recognized by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force as a recipient of the 2006 Creating Change Award, is a Soulforce Equality Ride Alumni, and has been trained by several national non-profits including [the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network] GLSEN, [the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation] GLAAD, GreenPeace, Soulforce, and the [National Gay and Lesbian Task Force] NGLTF.”

Don’t assume that just because you’re not LGBTQI that you’re not permitted to join in the group’s festivities. The ‘A’ in LGBTQIA stands for Ally. An Ally is a heterosexual advocate of the gay community. The whole group is about promoting this acceptance and their activities are targeted at providing a good time for all, regardless of orientation, in attendance.

The alliance’s upcoming events can be found on its website http://www.studo.umkc.edu/qa/events.htm.

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