The University of Northern Colorado’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center hosted a viewing of “Rent” on Thursday evening in the backyard of its new housing on 10th Ave.
The center provided the audience with popcorn and snack as well as bug spray to combat the onslaught of mosquitoes. The slight sprinkle of rain did not dissuade the center, as volunteers shielded the projector with a tablecloth from the droplets throughout the movie. The event certainly gathered a dedicated crowd who were excited to view the fan-favorite musical adaptation at any cost.
“Rent” is a 2005 adaptation of a Broadway musical concerning the HIV/AIDS epidemic in late 1980s New York, which greatly affected the LGBTQ community. This history of HIV/AIDS in the community dates backs to this crisis and is carried on still through today.
“One in six gay and bisexual men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime,” according to the Human Rights Campaign organization. “While better data is needed to understand the full impact of HIV on the transgender community, one international analysis found that transgender women in certain communities have 49 times the odds of living with HIV than the general population.”
Stephen Loveless, director of the resource center, said the movie was selected by a committee of student coordinators.
“Although it deals with some very serious and difficult topics, it is also very empowering for young queer people to see visual representation of themself on screen,” Loveless said. “This is a way of both highlighting that history of our community and being thoughtful of it. It is a musical which a lot of our community is very fond of as well.”
This fondness was confirmed as the showing quickly became an impromptu sing-along for many participants in the audience.
The most notable song, “Seasons of Love,” acts as the anthem of both the musical and 2005 adaptation. Those familiar with the musical have these lines memorized: “525,600 minutes/ 525,000 moments so dear/ 525,600 minutes/ How do you measure, measure a year?”
The story of the musical follows the year in the life of a group of low-income New Yorkers that are casted out of society due to their differences ranging from class level to being LGBTQ to their diagnosis of HIV/AIDS. But the song that summarizes how they feel about their differences from the mainstream is best portrayed in the song “La Vie Boheme,” which comically illustrates their Bohemian lifestyle and why they do not want to change. The message of pride and gratitude in a time of oppression is a message that greatly inspires the LGBTQ community.
This outdoor movie event was the first of many, as the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center recently moved from its office in the University Center to a house at 2215 10th Ave.
“We are excited because we are in our new house, and so we have the location to be able to host different events,” Loveless said.
Future events of the center include its celebration of LGBTQ History Month with a whole week of programming in October. The programming will include panels, movie screenings with the International Film Series and potential speakers in collaboration with other campus partners. The affinity groups and educational workshops will also be available resources throughout the semester.
Students who wish to contact UNC’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center can call 970-353-0191 or email [email protected]