They’re Here, Queer, And Ready To Party

Photo: Gem Sheps


On Nov. 17, the CU Denver Genders and Sexualities Alliance hosted their annual Queer Lives event to celebrate LGBTQ+ students and raise awareness about suicide in the queer community.

The event was organized by GSA President Lucian Salazar, Vice President Brandon Wicks, and executive producer of the event Obi Sparkles. CU Denver’s Student Government Association sponsored the event, along with the Imperial Court of the Rocky Mountain Empire (ICRME), the oldest LGBTQ+ organization in the state of Colorado.

The first half of the event was an LGBTQ+ resource fair, which provided information on and for the queer community. The event provided a buffet dinner and was open to all students and faculty on Auraria Campus. The Office of GLBT Student Services provided information on genders and sexualities, LGBTQ+ services and events on campus, and mental health and suicide prevention resources for queer students.

At the stroke of 6:30, the lights turned down and the drag show began. Nine queens donated their time to the Queer Lives event, with raging success. The show lasted an hour and a half and attracted a large crowd of queer students, faculty, and campus allies.

“All the positivity surrounding the event was incredible,” Sid Nelson, an LGBTQ+ student, said. “The performers were amazing and it was a really welcoming environment.”

One of the performers was Mr. Gay Pride of all Colorado, R.C. Michaels. He emceed the event and performed in the drag show himself, helping to rake in tips—some of which were literally falling from the sky. The balcony of the Turnhalle was full of students who balled up dollar bills and tossed them down to the stage, taking the phrase “make it rain” to a new level. 

When prompted, attendees found it difficult to choose a favorite part of the night. “All of it,” said one student who wishes to remain anonymous. “The drag show was lovely—it was my first, and it was really awesome. One of the performers used sign language in her performance and my mother is hard of hearing, so it was even more special to me.”

That student wasn’t the only one with a strong personal connection to the event. Executive producer Obi Sparkles designed the event to be a pay tribute to himself as well. “This event is a celebration of queer lives,” Sparkles said. “For me, as a suicide survivor, it means a lot to see everything come to fruition. It’s a celebration of my life, too.”

All proceeds of the event went toward two  organizations: the White Rose Scholarship, a scholarship awarded to LGBTQ+ students by the ICRME, and the Office of GLBT Student Services, which aims to send LGBTQ+ students to academic conferences with their half of the proceeds.

Gem Sheps
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