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).  

I'm an LGBTQ Ally; You Should Be Too

By Geraldo Franco Gimenez, Class of 2017

By Geraldo Franco Gimenez, Class of 2017

I’m a proud member of OUTreach, Booth’s group of LGBTQ-identified students and allies. Sometimes people ask me why I’m a member since I’m straight. Well, it has been a great way to meet new people, make friends, and have fun – all of which are key to the MBA experience in my opinion. However, it’s much more than that actually. 

An ally is someone who is supportive of LGBTQ people. This can be a non-LGBTQ person who believes that sexuality and gender identity rights (like me), or LGBTQ-identified people who support one other (i.e., a lesbian who is an ally to the transgender community). I’m an ally because I believe that autonomy, freedom of choice, and primacy of judgement should be paramount in democratic societies. I believe that no right or opportunity – either civil rights or professional opportunities – should be conditioned by or limited to who someone is or how they live their personal lives. I believe that allies can not only help in the coming-out process, but also help others understand the importance of equality, fairness, acceptance, and mutual respect.

It doesn’t matter where we’re from or what we did before Booth, we each likely know LGBTQ people, even if they’re not “out”. More than that, we have definitely engaged in enriching discussions and group projects with our LGBTQ classmates here at Booth. So, wearing pink during the month of May, attending the Allyship meeting, celebrating at the #PinkParty in Boystown (May 21), participating in numerous events throughout next year, and engaging with and/or even joining OUTreach--these are all ways to show your solidarity as an ally. And it’ll be lots of fun along the way!

Members of OUTreach, Booth's LGBTQ student group, strike a pose at the Pink LPF. 

Members of OUTreach, Booth's LGBTQ student group, strike a pose at the Pink LPF. 

Looking back in history (for instance, the African-American Civil Rights Movement or the fight against the Holocaust), “allies” in a broad sense have been vital in helping minority groups overcome oppression and gain the fair treatment they deserve. People should have equal rights and opportunities – that’s not just about being fair and inclusive, it’s about being human.

I like to believe that all of my fellow classmates have come to Booth to make an impact on the world, leaving it better than we have found it. I know that we will keep seeking this goal long after our two years here at Booth. Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”. We have so many opportunities to start doing so today. 

The Allyship meeting is two days away and #PinkParty is this weekend. Both events will be some of the most memorable moments for me here at Booth. I hope to see you all there.

OUTreach’s Allyship meeting: Wednesday, May 18th @ 11:45am, HC01 (lunch served). #PinkParty: Saturday, May 21 @ 8:00pm, Sidetrack Nightclub, Boystown, $25 through Booth Groups.
Geraldo, originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, is an advocate for human rights and civil liberties. He believes individuals can make a huge difference in the world through collaborative change.