Do you miss dressing up in fancy clothes, styling your hair and maybe throwing some make-up on your face? Do you remember how fun it was to dance around to loud music with a pounding bass rumbling up through the balls of your feet under flashing lights and maybe a disco ball? Do you miss photo booths with goofy filters and funny props for you and your friends to make ever lasting memories with? Did you ever have this experience? Do you wish you could go back and redo it all—for good reasons or bad?
Well on Saturday, May 6th at 10 pm in Hicks you can [re]create these memories that will last a lifetime at the annual Pride Ball. This year’s theme is “Celebrate Yourself”—which is just the point. “Pride Ball is a place for everyone to come as they are and however they feel comfortable and have a great time, in a positive and supportive environment,” said Julia Bartlett ’18, one of this year’s Kaleidoscope leaders and event planners. “We really just want everyone to have the opportunity to make memories they will cherish for a lifetime.”
Kaleidoscope (Kscope) is the campus’s LGBTQIA+ group on campus, and regularly holds the event every spring. Previously, as many seniors and staff at Kalamazoo College will remember, the event was Crystal Ball—a very different kind of event. It was disbanded for many reasons, but Pride Ball was the incredible rebirth of Kscope’s annual Zoo After Dark.
When asked why Pride Ball was important to the campus community, the organization’s co-leader, Zoe Johannsen ’18 stated, “We hold Pride Ball because it’s a place to have fun and not feel self-conscious which is a thing a lot of LGBTQ students need—it’s our answer for all those years we’ve had to spend in hiding.” The event is a place for everyone regardless of their sexual or gender orientation to show up and have a place to claim as their own, and that can be a very powerful and confirming experience. For many students in the LGBTQ community, it is the first experience they have which is designed for them and with them in mind. Rainbows everywhere, pictures and biographies of powerful and important LBGTQ folks lining the walls, and a place where no matter how you show up or who you show up with you will be accepted—better yet you won’t get a second glance, unless your outfit is super on point. It is a place of support and acceptance.
There is still a lot to do before this event and all help is vastly welcomed. If you would like to help set up or contribute in any way to the event, please contact Zoe Johannsen (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Julia Bartlett (Julia.email@example.com). And come to the next Kaleidoscope meeting Tuesday at 7 pm in Bissel Theater.
Hope to see you there, whoever you are.