OXFORD, Miss. – The second Lafayette-Oxford-University Pride Weekend is set for May 4-7 throughout the city of Oxford and the University of Mississippi.
The event is organized by the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies and Out Oxford, with local support from The Lyric, Proud Larry’s, Oxford Film Festival and UM organizations including the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement. Pride Weekend is designed to create inclusive and welcoming spaces for the LGBTQ communities of Lafayette County, Oxford and Ole Miss.
“Last year’s parade was a great experience,” said Jaime Harker, Isom Center director. “Members of the LGBTQ community and allies marched, and there was such joy in all the people who participated. When the parade turned onto Lamar, we were greeted with a roar of delight.
“I have never been prouder of my community. We are delighted to make Pride Weekend an annual event.”
The theme of this year’s parade is “Liberty and Justice for All,” and Harker invites all community members to join in the celebration.
“Attend one of three shows on the Square, come celebrate LGBTQ graduates, march in the parade or simply come and be part of the experience on the Square,” she said “Come create an ever more inclusive South in which there is room for all of us.”
Pride also will feature events throughout the week and weekend, including a May 2 fundraiser benefitting programming at the Isom Center.
The ticketed benefit dinner “Mississippi, Your Food is So Queer,” hosted by Saint Leo and OutOxford, will celebrate queer kitchen culture and chef Sydney Meers, owner of Stove restaurant in Portsmouth, Virginia.
A Senatobia native, Meers learned to cook from his grandmother at her restaurant, Johnson Cafe. He built upon those lessons and pursued both classical and informal training as he cooked in kitchens across the South and up the East Coast, exploring new flavors.
The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $65, available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2933706.
“The Sarah Isom Center is so proud to have chef Sydney Meers return to his home state to be a part of a fundraiser,” said Theresa Starkey, Isom Center associate director. “Meers is a James Beard-nominated chef, and we can’t think of a better talent and Mississippian to help us celebrate queer kitchen culture as a lead-in to Pride.”
Here is a full schedule of the weekend events:
Thursday (May 4)
Code Pink – 9 p.m., Proud Larry’s. The weekend officially begins with a dance party, hosted by OutOxford. The event is for ages 18 and older, with a $10 cover charge at the door.
Friday (May 5)
Lavender Graduation – 4 p.m., The Inn at Ole Miss. The UM Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, along with campus partners, hosts a Lavender Graduation ceremony to celebrate LGBTQ students graduating from the university. Graduating students who wish to participate along with their family, friends and university faculty and staff should RSVP by April 22 at http://inclusion.olemiss.edu.
Big Freedia – 8 p.m., The Lyric Oxford. New Orleans-based rapper Big Freedia, known as the Queen of Bounce, put a twist on hip-hop with call-and-response lyrics over quick beats. She has performed around New Orleans for more than 20 years and brings her talents to a national stage with her show “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce,” in its fifth season on Fuse TV. The show is for ages 18 and older. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $26 and can be purchased at http://www.thelyricoxford.com/.
Saturday (May 6)
Oxford Pride Parade – 2 p.m., downtown Oxford. Participants will meet at the University-Oxford Depot parking lot at 12:30 p.m. to prepare. The parade will stroll down Presidential Debate Way to University Avenue, up to Lamar Boulevard, around the Courthouse Square and back to the Depot. Everyone is invited to participate by marching or lining the route in support of the event.
Go-Divas Extravaganza – 8:30 p.m. The Lyric Oxford. This show, featuring the drag stars of Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, is for those 18 and older. Tickets are $10m available at http://www.thelyricoxford.com/.
Sunday (May 7)
Screening of “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin” – 2 p.m., The Powerhouse, 413 South 14th St. The Oxford Film Festival hosts a free screening of the film.
A festival package, which provides access to all shows, can be purchased through The Lyric Oxford for $26. A percentage from each ticket sale will benefit the LGBTQ Arts and Culture Foundation Fund.
For more information, go to http://sarahisomcenter.org/oxford-pride/.