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Week of events analyzes safe spaces for LGBTQIA community.

By Estela Hernandez, public relations and events specialist, University of Utah Office for Equity and Diversity

Pride Week 2016 at the University of Utah runs Sept. 28-Oct. 6, and will feature photographer Jeff Sheng and QueerCrip fashion designer Sky Cubacub. This year’s theme, “Queering Safe Spaces” explores the meaning of safe spaces and how they affect those included or excluded within the LGBTQI community.

“The theme, Queering Safe Spaces, is important because it is an invitation to critically engage with our own assumptions about this campus, the safe spaces we think exist here, and the interventions made by students, staff, faculty and administration to create and maintain safe spaces,” said Kim Hackford-Peer, associate director for Gender Studies and Pride Week committee co-chair. “We hope to expand our individual and collective thinking about what safe spaces exist. What do they promise to provide? What are their limits? And how can we do better?”

Pride Week activities at the U are listed below. All events are free and open to the public unless noted otherwise.

[bs_well size=”md”]Hinckley Forum: Pizza & Politics
Sanctuary Spaces: The Promise and Limits of Safe Spaces
Sep. 28, 12 p.m., Building 73, Room 110, 332 S. 1400 East
When it comes to sanctuary spaces for the LGBTQIA community, often times these spaces are found in realms of art, athletics or various social pockets in the community. Sanctuary spaces offer refuge and a sense of freedom for the LGBTQIA community. But what happens when these spaces end up excluding parts of the community or are no longer safe? What are the actual characteristics of a sanctuary space and how do people create their own safe space? The Hinckley Forum explores these topics. Panelists include Darrin Hathaway, high school theater arts educator; Romeo Jackson, graduate student at the U; Ana Maria Lopez, associate vice president for Equity and Inclusion in Health Sciences; C. Kai Medina-Martinez, director of the LGBT Resource Center at the U; Kira Kiko Lian, program coordinator at the School for Social and Cultural Transformation and a recent Gender Studies graduate.[/bs_well]

[bs_well size=”md”]Voices of Diversity Social Justice Series
B. Cole: Blurring the Lines of Gender
Oct. 3, 6-8 p.m. Social Work Goodwill Building, Okazaki Community Meeting Room (155 B), 395 S. 1500 East
B. Cole is the executive director of the Brown Boi Project, an organization that works across race and gender to eradicate sexism, homophobia and transphobia and to create frameworks for transformative masculinity. This session will explore the intersection of race and gender from first and second wave feminist approaches while integrating queer theory. The event is sponsored by Voices of Diversity, an organization in the U’s College of Social Work, that works toward a greater understanding of and advocacy for social justice issues.[/bs_well]

[bs_well size=”md”]Voices of Diversity Social Justice Series
B. Cole: Life Hacking for Students of Color
Oct. 4, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Social Work Goodwill Building, Okazaki Community Meeting Room (155A), 395 S. 1500 East
B. Cole will discuss the power of collective work, specifically as it relates to navigating college as a first-generation student. Lunch will be provided, but registration is required. Email[/bs_well]

[bs_well size=”md”]Jeff Sheng: Fearless
Oct. 5, 12 p.m.
Olpin Student Union Building, East Ballroom, 200 Central Campus Drive
Jeff Sheng is an American photographer whose work focuses on the 21st century LGBT rights movement and has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Time magazine, The Advocate and The New Yorker. The Fearless Project was born in 2003, when he began photographing LGBT high school and college athletes who were “out” to their teammates. Sheng calls this an artistic self-exploration of his own identity as a former closeted high school athlete. The Fearless Project has been exhibited and presented at several college campuses and at venues such as the headquarters for Nike, ESPN and NCAA.

Sheng will be available to photograph local “out” athletes. To schedule, contact

Photographs from The Fearless Project will be exhibited in the Union building’s main lobby through Oct. 6.[/bs_well]

[bs_well size=”md”]Sky Cubacub: Rebirth Garments Fashion Performance and Talk-back
Oct. 6, 6 p.m. Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building, Child Family Community Hall, 1655 Campus Center Drive
Sky Cubacub is the founder and designer for Rebirth Garments, a line of gender nonconforming wearables for people on the full spectrum of gender, size and ability. Cubacub’s designs are guided by the assertion that trans communities and people with disabilities have very particular clothing needs. Rather than opting for mainstream clothing, which often pathologize and erase these particular identities, Cubacub designs for radical visibility.

Cubacub will host a performance of her garments. To be a part of the show, contact No prior experience required.

The performances will be followed by a discussion of Cubacub’s QueerCrip Dress Reform Movement Manifesto.[/bs_well]