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Monarchs support queer cinema

In the Student Union Skybox’s study lair, the ASU and the Rainbow Pride Center brought queer cinema to Valley College.

By Natalie Metcalf, Valley Life Editor

Students watch “But I'm a Cheerleader” (1999) with The Rainbow Pride Center and ASU members in the Student Union Plaza’s second-floor study lair on March 23 (Violett De Jean | Valley star)

Laughter and applause could be heard from the second-floor study lair last Thursday when the Associated Student Union and the Rainbow Pride Center collaborated to watch “But I’m a Cheerleader”(1999).

Head counselor and coordinator of the Rainbow Pride Center Natalie Guerrero hosted the event and provided the film. ASU’s head coordinator Monica Flores and the student union board provided snacks and bottles of water for the movie night. ASU President Ani Ramazyan was in attendance as well as the Commissioner of Health and Wellness, Christopher Robles Garay. The crowded study lair housed 23 Monarchs and community members.

“Movie nights are important to create community because these events are open, not just to students, but to guests and families,” said Guerrero. “I think having LGBT movie night is important to highlight our student population that identifies as LGBT+.”

This is the first collaboration between the Rainbow Pride Center and ASU. In the past, ASU has hosted movie nights every Thursday of the month. Last semester, the student union hosted three movie nights on the North Mall Lawn. Monarchs watched the films “Encanto”(2021) and James Wan’s “Insidious” (2010).

“But I’m a Cheerleader '' stars Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall and RuPaul as well as other notable actors. It is considered a cult classic to the LGBTQIA+ community and to queer cinema. The film’s theme of being queer and the satire of gay conversion therapy made moviegoers in the LGBTQIA+ community relate to the film.

During the film, Megan (Lyonne) is sent to a gay conversion camp called True Directions. While at the camp, Megan falls in love with a woman named Graham (DuVall), a fellow member of the “rehab.” The film is a satirical comedy, ultimately mocking the idea of conversion camps. At the end of the film, Megan and Graham run away from the camp, accepting themselves and their friends.

There is a darker theme that underlines the film, as parents of the teenagers in True Directions are pressured to graduate or they will be disowned for being in the LGBTQIA+ community. Serious reactions were seen from the audience, as students paid close attention to what happened next.

Monarchs enjoyed the film, through collective laughter and cheers for Megan and Graham’s love story. Most viewers had not seen the movie before leading to surprised reactions during the film. The hour-and-a-half film ended around 6:30 p.m. instead of the 7 p.m. ending time, allowing attendees time to discuss the film and socialize with other students.

Monarchs even showed up with their significant others, making a night out of the school function. Steve Knise and Marco Ramos, a married couple from the Valley, attended the movie night. Ramos is a second-year student at Valley and is taking ESL classes.

“It [the movie] was very frank, open and honest,” said Knise, Ramos’ husband, after the film. “This is great, I really like seeing young people have a place to meet and do things because I didn’t.”

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