On Thursday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m., Queer Alliance hosted the annual Coming Out Dance at the UCR Alumni Center. The event is annually held by Queer Alliance (QA), an LGBT organization on campus, with the goal to offer a space for LGBT students and community members to celebrate Halloween and mingle with other LGBT individuals.
The event has been held since the reestablishment of Queer Alliance back in 2015. Its purpose has consistently been to offer LGBT individuals space to openly express themselves on the dance floor and celebrate Halloween without the fear of judgment, discrimination or any social repercussions.
The club publicity manager, Azalea Corral, a second-year Latin American studies major stated, “The Coming Out Halloween dance is an event put on by QA to bring together members of the LGBT community and have a good time with friends without worrying about what anyone thinks.” The dance was planned a year ago and the theme this year was Witches.
Nate Sebastian, a fourth-year psychology major, and event attendee stated, “Halloween was always a comforting holiday. For one, it is Emo Christmas. And second, it’s just a chill day. Free candy, no obligation to cater to anyone. Some people can be not themselves for a day and others, it may be the only day they can.”
The tradition of the Coming Out Dance has been held since 2007 when Queer Alliance was reinstated at UCR. It was one of the few events in which LGBT students could mingle in a largely anti-LGBT environment of the time. Most of the Coming Out Dance’s origins are unclear due to the lost history within Queer Alliance’s fluctuating annual club roster size. It’s only certain that the dance came about at the beginning of Queer Alliance’s involvement on campus. Regardless of the origins, the dance brings community members together to celebrate.
The night was a blend of students and community members under one roof, dancing to a variety of songs without caring about any judgment. Scattered around the dance floor there were multiple couples who were able to demonstrate affection and not look over their shoulder in the fear of who might see. All they had to focus on was the fun they were having on the dance floor and watching their toes because not everyone is a gifted dancer.
The highlight of the night was the costume contest in which students were able to go on the dance floor and compete for the cheers and jeers of their peers to determine the winner. It started off with basic dancing since everyone was warming up and feeling the crowd out of stage fright. After the third dancer came up, everyone got comfortable and started letting loose, with dancers performing stunts such as splits and flips. The competition got fierce among three competitors who performed the most stunts and had the most rhythm: The Mad Hatter, Sexy Patrick and a Fairy.
They got into a dance battle of grace and rhythmic prowess, with a greater sense of competition focused on Patrick and the Mad Hatter. Sexy Patrick, fourth-year sociology major Nikki Abello, proved to work their dance moves were the best. Abello clacked their heels, split on the floor, and scorpioned their left leg behind their head with eight-inch heels on. The crowd cheered nonstop, proving Sexy Patrick had earned the crown.
After the costume contest coronation, the DJ played “The Cupid Shuffle,” “The Cha Cha Slide” and “El Payaso del Rodeo.” The night began to wind down once “El Payaso del Rodeo” was over, and the music transitioned into pop classics like Diana Ross “Coming Out.”