300 Booth Students Flock to Boystown for Annual LGBT #PinkParty

By John Frame, Class of 2017

By John Frame, Class of 2017

Over 300 Booth students of all backgrounds descended upon Sidetrack Video bar in Boystown, Chicago's LGBT neighborhood, on Saturday, May 21st, to celebrate #PinkParty, hosted by Booth OUTreach LGBT student group.

Students from the full and part-time program attended the event organized to celebrate diversity and LGBT allyship in the Booth community. The three-hour long event featured tons of pink swag, a variety of frosty beverages, and a drag show with performances from LGBT ally members of the rugby and soccer clubs.

Students from the full and part-time program attended the event organized to celebrate diversity and LGBT allyship in the Booth community.
Over 300 Chicago Booth students showed their support for the student drag performers at OUTreach's annual #PinkParty hosted at Sidetrack Video Bar in Boystown on Saturday night. 

Over 300 Chicago Booth students showed their support for the student drag performers at OUTreach's annual #PinkParty hosted at Sidetrack Video Bar in Boystown on Saturday night. 

#PinkParty was emceed by first-year students, Belen Bazano and Austin Fang, the latter of whom stole the show as “$hia Me$$”, wearing a long black wig and a flowered mini-dress. The drag show kicked off with a strip tease performed to Fifth Harmony's "Work from Home" and concluded with members of the audience in wigs participating in impromptu dance solos.

Throughout the hour-long performance, Fang and Bazano quizzed the audience on drag culture and handed out condoms and other fun prizes before winners were crowned. Sidetrack Video Bar, a long-time supporter of the #PinkParty, donated the club space and attendees flocked to nearby Mini Bar for the after-party.

Erik Underwood, a Co-Chair of OUTreach and main project leader for the event, complimented the support from the Sidetrack staff, “The management at Sidetrack was incredible. We’ve been hosting the party there for years, and the bartenders were excited to come back and have a blast with us. As a landmark LGBT bar in Boystown, Sidetrack is a great first exposure to LGBT nightlife for our straight allies.”  

Booth OUTreach co-chair and project leader, Erik Underwood (center), strikes a pose with his fellow co-chairs in front of the signature pink lips at OUTreach's annual #PinkParty at Sidetrack Video Bar in Boystown.

Booth OUTreach co-chair and project leader, Erik Underwood (center), strikes a pose with his fellow co-chairs in front of the signature pink lips at OUTreach's annual #PinkParty at Sidetrack Video Bar in Boystown.

Members of the Booth community paused to take professional photos in front of giant pink lips and let loose to dance tracks under a pink glow. The event was the culmination of OUTreach’s annual Pink Month, which was organized to show support for LGBT rights dating back to Nazi Germany when homosexuals were sent to concentration camps and branded with pink triangles. Following the Stonewall Riots in the late 1960s, Pink Month grew to be a staple of the Gay Rights Movement.

OUTreach Co-Chair, Francesco Schettino (’17), spearheaded the planning for Pink Month and expressed the history behind the month-long celebration, “The main focus of Pink Month is visibility--of LGBT people and allies. It gives people the opportunity to become an active part of the LGBT community. The drag show and deep presence in a historically gay neighborhood shows allies that there is nothing ‘scary’ about our community and, in fact, they too can be a part of it.”

The drag show and deep presence in a historically gay neighborhood shows allies that there is nothing ‘scary’ about our community and, in fact, they too can be a part of it.
— Francesco Schettino ('17), Booth OUTreach Co-Chair

#PinkParty had the largest turnout this year. Allies were all smiles before they head to internships and full-time jobs all over the world. “I came because I wanted to show my support for the LGBT community, have some fun, and experience something new,” said Garaudy Etienne (’17).