World AIDS Day, Allyship at Center of OUTreach LGBTQ Group’s First-Ever “HoliGay Party”

By John Frame, Class of 2017

By John Frame, Class of 2017

For the first time in the history of Chicago Booth, members of OUTreach, Booth’s LGBTQ student group, hosted a “HoliGay Party” at Bull and Bear in River North on Friday, December 2nd for vocal allies and friends.

Over 70 guests celebrated the end of the quarter and solidarity with the LGBTQ community, while also honoring of World AIDS Day (WAD). Guests were treated to handmade red ribbon pins (official symbol of WAD) signifying allegiance to those suffering around the world. With treatment options significantly improving the quality of life for those infected by the illness, HIV/AIDS still plagues communities around the world, with those in poverty most affected.

OUTreach member and lead organizer, Trisha Chakraborty (‘16), acknowledged the juxtaposition of the festive overtone and somber undertone of the event: “We are so thankful for our allies at Booth and recognize that not everyone is as fortunate as us--especially people who have the added burden of being affected by HIV/AIDS. It is with that lens that we raise awareness of and honor World AIDS Day by wearing red tonight.”

This was also a time for folks to relax, unwind, and build community. The event continued a realization of OUTreach’s vision that Booth become a community of open and proud allies of LGBTQ rights which are coming under attack.

Rugby Team Co-Captain and staunch LGBTQ ally, Julian Rowlands (’17), shared why he felt it was important for him and others to be active and vocal allies: “I want to see a world where people have the freedom to be themselves. Being a visible ally is my way of letting the LGBTQ community know that they have my unconditional support in their fight to win the same rights and protections as everyone else.”

The “HoliGay Party” was the culmination of a quarter filled with numerous LGBTQ awareness events spearheaded by OUTreach, from “Coming Out Stories” (in honor of National Coming Out Day) to an inter-MBA program workplace inclusivity pledge (organized in partnership with other top MBA programs around the country), as well as Diversity Day (in partnership with Booth Admissions), and numerous ally meetings.

As OUTreach looks to winter programming, students can expect a partnership with the Armed Forces Group and Graduate Business Council for the inaugural Mental Health Awareness Week and increased anticipation for OUTreach’s well-attended signature event, #PinkParty, happening in May among other events.

I want to see a world where people have the freedom to be themselves. Being a visible ally is my way of letting the LGBTQ community know that they have my unconditional support in their fight to win the same rights and protections as everyone else.
— Julian Rowlands ('17)

Outreach’s increased presence on campus has led to more partnerships across the Booth community. African-American MBA Association Co-Chair and vocal LGBTQ ally, Antoinette King (’17), attended the “HoliGay Party” and spoke of the need for her group to support the mission of OUTreach in order to break down divisions among marginalized groups.

“It’s especially important for me as a black woman to support the LGBTQ community here at Booth, a group so often stigmatized and discriminated against in social and professional settings even by groups that understand the pain of marginalization. I need to be a vocal proponent of breaking down the walls that divide us.”   

John wishes all of his classmates a happy, restful holiday break. Be safe.

[Carousel Gallery (pictured above): Active allies and members of OUTreach, Chicago Booth's LGBTQ student group, celebrate the holidays and honor World AIDS Day at Bull and Bear on Friday, December 2nd. ]