United Latino Pride kicks off with Noche de Lotería Jotería, Friday, April 19

Tue. April 16, 2013 9:19 AM by Anthony Morgano

la mas mejor hosted 2012 loteria joteria

photo credit // facebook
Chicago, IL - United Latino Pride Week returns June 2-9 for its fourth year of community building to create awareness of and celebrate Chicago's Latino LGBTQQIA (that's Latino/a Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Questioning Intersex Ally, for those unfamiliar with the super-inclusive acronym) individuals. ULP Week 2013 kicks off this Friday, April 19, with their popular annual fundraiser Noche de Lotería Jotería at the National Museum of Mexican Art from 6 to 10 p.m.

"Loteria is a traditional Mexican game similar to Bingo, but instead of numbers and letters, Loteria uses images that have a cultural resonance," ULP co-chair and core organizer Kara Carrell explained to ChicagoPride.com. "Joteria on the other hand means ‘queerness' or ‘queer things' that actually comes from the slur joto/jota. This word has been reclaimed in similar way that queer has."

The event is a family friendly, all-ages evening of food, drink and various rounds of the traditional Mexican game of Lotería with performances assembled by the returning MC, La Mas Mejor Pantoja -- a popular and vivacious Chicago drag queen. Two tiers of tickets are available. A $30 ticket includes open bar from 6 to 7 p.m. and one Lotería ticket to play all night for amazing prizes provided by sponsors like Early2Bed, Connie's Pizza and Miss Illinois Latina. A $50 VIP ticket includes open bar all night long, seating closer to La Mas Mejor's performances and the ability to change your Lotería card all night, thereby increasing your chances to win.

Carrell remembers her shock last year as she registered whole families, from children up through grandparents, attending an event clearly billed as queer. It reminded her of the diversity of family situations for both Latinos and queer individuals -- and it is this diversity and dismantling of traditional barriers that ULP is all about.

"You don't have to be Latino, or Mexican, or gay to enjoy this event," Carrell said. "This is about all of us coming together for a shared experience, and to break down the barriers we build between each other, within and without the LGBTQQIA Latino community."

United Latino Pride week has accomplished much in the past three years, organizing a diverse collection of almost entirely free cultural, social and educational events all highlighting "a vibrant Latino LGBTQQIA community [in Chicago] that is interconnected and positively engaged with society at large." Last year's ULP week ended with United For One at Night, a first of its kind event that brought 24 LGBTQ promoters, 15 DJs and gogo dancers to Excalibur Nightclub downtown for a spectacular celebration of queer and Latino identity. This year, the folks at ULP have even more planned.

"We started with an ambitious dream of celebrating the contributions of LGBTQQIA Latinos within the Latino community and within the larger LGBTQQIA community. Now in our fourth year, we continue to grow and evolve," Danny Olvera, another ULP co-chair, told ChicagoPride.com. "After last year's successful run, we all got together and again reviewed our mission and vision. We realized that in order to truly celebrate and highlight the contributions of our community, we needed to support those organizations serving our community."

In years past, organizations coordinating events during ULP week did so using their own resources and funds, but this year ULP is reborn as a foundation. Through fundraising efforts like Friday's Lotería Jotería and last year's United For One Night, ULP is helping their partner organizations by providing the funds for their events.

ULP is currently receiving proposals from potential partner initiatives, collectives, businesses or individuals interested in creating an event. Like in years past, they imagine a diverse set of events spanning from film screenings to networking nights, dance lessons to workshops, all highlighting and celebrating LGBTQQIA Latino individuals and the important part they play in the wider Latino and queer communities in Chicago. Anyone interested in submitting a proposal to create an event can do so here: http://bit.ly/ulpweekproposal

Friday night's Lotería Jotería event runs from 6 to 10 p.m. at the National Museum of Mexican Art, located at 1852 W. 19th Street. Funds raised from this event will help support United Latino Pride in organizing the 4th Annual United Latino Pride Week in Chicago, which takes place from June 2-9 this year. Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased online at http://LoteriaJoteria.Eventbrite.com.

More information about ULP can be found at their website: unitedlatinopride.org. Keep checking back to ChicagoPride.com for more coverage of this year's United Latino Pride Week.


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