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New Pride Room sets welcoming tone for 'Diva La Paz'

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Heather Newberry | The Daily Wildcat LGBTQ+ myths posted in the new Pride Room at Colonia De La Paz dorm prior to "Diva La Paz" on Feb. 2.

For some people in the LGBTQ+ community, Diva La Paz can go far beyond the glitz, glam, gorgeous divas and drag queens expected to perform at Colonial de La Paz residence hall.

Last Friday night, the spotlight shone on the members of the LGBTQ+ and drag communities who took center-stage. 

The pre-show festivities featured a tour of the new Pride Room, a student-created museum that showcased the LGBTQ+ community. The walls held displays to celebrate ‘game-changing’ icons, provide LGBTQ+ resources, and address the myths and misconceptions in the community.

Attendees were also encouraged to write

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Attendees were also encouraged to write messages on slips of paper and attach them as a chain hanging down from a tree display called “Growing Courage.” 

Outside the Pride Room door, attendees also stuck paper-colored lips on a wall. Each pair featured words that resonated with them. Colonial de La Paz’s RA Nikolas Rodriguez, who played a lead role in bringing the room come together, said the Pride Room was more interactive than last year. 

“The room is never what they expect,” he said. “They don’t expect to see what it’s turned into and how it evolved within just a couple of nights.”

Rodriguez says that Diva La Paz and the Pride room itself are “a beautiful expression of that individuality and that identity that they fight to have the right to express without fear of discrimination.” 

He hopes that the Pride Room will continue to advance advocacy and show that “people aren’t alone in the struggle and have resources to turn to.” 

Rodriguez was surprised at how much bigger the event was than last year’s. Seats filled up so fast, and there were so many people that the line went through the building and out the door outside. And that was just for the beginning of the pre-show.

The construction of the Pride Room started on the day of the event and took hours for the residence hall and hall council volunteers to design.They will be taking it down on Tuesday.

Kimberley Chong, a former intern at ASUA Pride Alliance, and member of the Eller Sexual Orientation and Identity Club, attended drag shows in the past. However, this was her first time attending Diva La Paz. 

Chong said she wanted to see the Pride Room go more in depth in showing “marginalized people who have contributed to LGBTQ+ history and rights” and those of color. However, she was still satisfied and thought it was a great introduction, even for first time attendees. 

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“It was a great opportunity for young LGBTQ+ people to feel that (they) were not only included and visible, but celebrated. Especially since it was the first drag show for many attendees (and some may not be 21+ to got to IBTs),” she said. “I was very happy that there were so many students which were supporting LGBTQ and wanted more visibility in the U of A.”

The performance element of the event included appearances by Black N’ Blue dance crew, UA Dance, CatCall A Cappella and Ajia Simone and her team. During the Q&A with the divas after the show, many answered how they got into drag and why they do it.They also made some jokes for laughs.

With the the crowd making noise and throwing their hands up for the performers under the string lights and stunning jungle-themed décor, everyone was welcome to open up and express themselves.


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