Gala invites LGBTQ community to celebrate homecoming

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Marshall University’s Homecoming Pride Gala will be 7 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Memorial Student Center’s Don Morris Room.

The event is sponsored by the President’s Commission on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion in collaboration with the LGBTQ Office.

“We thought long and hard when we came up with this idea, and we knew we wanted to do something that our students, faculty and alumni would want to attend,” Shaunte Polk, the sponsored program administrator for the LGBTQ Office, said. “We don’t have many opportunities for our alumni to come back and celebrate their pride, so we wanted this to be an event that lets guests mingle and have a good time for a good cause.”

The gala will be the first of its kind, and Polk said the LGBTQ Office is hoping to make the occasion an annual event for the community to get involved with.

“It’s a huge event with so many people on board, so it’s going to be great,” Polk said. “Expect to see a little bit of everything. We have some lovely drag queens who will be there, and our committee will also be there to represent the community. Marshall hasn’t seen anything like this before.”

The event is 1990s themed and will feature a drag show with local drag queens, music from DJ Bravo, 90s themed decorations and specialty named drinks for those 21 and older. 

“All of the performers will bring something different to the table,” Tammy Fae St. Clair, the drag queen who will emcee the event, said. “I do comedy, but some of the other queens will perform to recent music. “

In addition to creating an event for LGBTQ students, Polk said she wanted to make sure LGBTQ alumni felt welcome during homecoming.

“We wanted to draw the alumni to the event because we often lose contact with our LGBTQ+ graduates,” Polk said. “This is a time and place to bring them back and give them an opportunity to celebrate homecoming because we want to make sure they know that our LGBTQ alumni are just as important as other alumni.”

Proceeds from the event will be going toward the creation of a new scholarship aimed at Marshall’s LGBTQ students.

“We usually think about all the great things on Marshall’s campus, but there are some things that we just don’t have,” Polk said. “We wanted to provide a scholarship initiative to our LGBTQ+ students.”

Despite the event being aimed at LGBTQ students, faculty and alumni, Polk said the event is open to anyone who is interested in attending.

“We’ve worked very hard and have had a lot of amazing people help with this project,” Polk said. “We envision this as being a great time, and with the amount of time and effort we’ve put into it, we feel in our hearts that it’s going to be an event that people should attend. This is going to be a night to remember.”

Tickets for the Homecoming Pride Gala will be on sale in the LGBTQ Office throughout the week and on the day of the event.

Joelle Gates can be contacted at [email protected]

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