Chicago Collegiate Pride Fest this Saturday

Wed. April 14, 2004 12:00 AM by News Staff

Colleges, Universities Partner with City Committee on Human Relations on LGBT Youth Issues

Chicago, IL - National columnist and openly gay activist Dan Savage will headline the activities at Chicago Collegiate Pride Fest 2004 on Saturday, April 17, announced Patrick Finnessy, Director of Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The event will take place at the Chicago Illini Union, 828 S. Wolcott, from 2:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Pride Fest 2004 is open to the general public. Admission is $5 and free for UIC students with a valid ID. For more information, contact Patrick Finnessy at 312-413-9862 or visit

A highlight of the program will be the National Discussion with Dan Savage, author of the weekly Savage Love. Savage will face-off with the audience in an open discussion on sex, sexuality, and gender, specifically within the LGBT movement and society in general. His presentation is entitled, "Let's Talk About Sex." International performer and slam-poet Staceyann Chin will open the festival with a 60-minute performance about "Sex and the City."

After the success of last year's program at the Chicago Cultural Center, three breakout sessions intended to provide LGBT students with practical skills they can use as activists will be offered. Club Drugs and Sex will examine the use of drugs in the circuit bar scene. Legal Sex will provide participants with knowledge about gay marriage, the recent Supreme Court sodomy law decision, and examine how activism can combine with academics. It will be led by UIC Professor John D'Emilio, a historian and scholar whose work was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court. Finally, Toying with Sex will be a safer sex workshop offered by Early to Bed, a Chicago business.

The fest will close with Chicago Collegiate Pride Idol, a talent competition judged by Savage, Chin, and Who's That Girl performer, Patrick Russo. Chicago cabaret performers Amy Armstrong and Freddy Allen will emcee the event as well as perform. Each participating college and university (UIC, Columbia College, Roosevelt University, and the University of Chicago) hosted a semifinal round on their college campus in February and March with the final rounds performed at Pride Fest. Individual contestants will be judged on song, dance, voice, costume, and audience interaction/stage presence.

Exhibitors from national, state, and local organizations and businesses providing services of relevance to LGBT youth will also be on hand throughout the event.

Pride Fest 2004 is the third annual event. This year's Pride Fest is a collaboration of University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, DePaul University, Roosevelt University, University of Chicago, and the CCHR Advisory Council on LGBT Issues.

"Collegiate activism is important for the success of the LGBT movement." says Patrick Finnessy, chair of the Pride Fest committee and director of Office of GLBT Concerns at UIC. "With this event, we are working to educate and inspire the next generation. It is our hope that students will take the information and energy found here to communities across the country."

"Each year's Collegiate Pride Fest has been a great success," continued Finnessy, "and this year we have brought the experience to the founding school, the University of Illinois at Chicago, to celebrate the diversity and richness of Chicago's campuses."