Total SAGE Fest Cancellation Leaves LGBT+ Students Disappointed

By: Em Maxey ~ Assistant Editor

Lavender Week, the University of Lynchburg’s version of Pride Week took place from Oct. 17 to Oct. 26 this year. The main event of the week, SAGE(Sexuality and Gender Equality) Festival was canceled. 

However, festivities did not stop with the canceling of the festival. On Monday, many LGBT Resources, both on and off campus, hosted tabling outside on Hundley Highway. 

There was a showing of the film The Danish Girl at the Daura Museum on Tuesday, Safe Space training on Wednesday in Drysdale and a livestream discussion on LGBTQIA+ identity on Thursday.

Jamie Smith, wellness coordinator, confirmed that the reason for cancellation was that the coordinator of the event had left the University. 

Smith says, “After being given this information and thoughtful consideration, the committee decided to cancel this event as we thought we would not be able to take over the event and do it justice with the short time we had.” 

Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) President, Maggie Kicklighter says, “I would have liked for the University to have still hosted the festival to show support for and celebrate its LGBT+ Students. However, I also feel like the event was not well publicized.” 

Kicklighter felt the event was not prioritized by the University. “Cancellations like this can deprive students of an event they were excited to go to and can be a disappointment to queer students who are excited to celebrate thier identities,” says Kicklighter.

GSA Vice President, Luke Wyatt who is passionate about LGBT+ issues on campus says, “I understand that there were circumstances that I’m not totally aware of that led to the festival’s cancellation, but I was disappointed that there wasn’t an effort to put on a replacement event or at least follow through with some of what had been planned for the festival.”

The cancellation of the event showed lack of support to the LGBT+ students, and they responded with disappointment. 

Wyatt adds, “Not only does it hurt queer students, but it hurts the student body as a whole. I believe queer joy and culture–which it is important to recognize has its roots in black queer spaces in particular–is something beautiful and sharing that only enriches the campus community… In the future, I would hope to see more events like the SAGE Festival be followed through on.”

On Friday, The Lynchburg Heart Project sent out an email of references for LGBTQ+ survivors of sexual violence. 

Smith adds “We always appreciate student feedback and welcome partnership in future Lavender Weeks to come” 

For more LGBT+ resources contact the Office of Equity and Inclusion

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