The Den's cabarets always have a tough time competing for students' attention this time of year, what with essays due, exams on the horizon, and the ever-popular Bermuda Shorts Day. Organizers of the annual Gender Bender, however, believe it's a challenge they can meet. The structure of the event, sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Academic Students and Staff, will be similar to past years, but longtime GLASS member and current chair Paul Sereda thinks distinctiveness from other cabarets will lure people in.
"[The Gender Bender] is a great chance to see something quite different from the norm for the Den," he says. "Whether one's interest is in participant observation or just partying it up."
Of course, the two go hand-in-hand at the Gender Bender, an event that's difficult to maintain a detached perspective towards. For those who thought Jon Stewart's hosting of the Oscars was edgy, Gender Bender emcees Bruce Lee and Selma Body can be counted on to push the envelope even further. They'll also be giving away some door prizes, including a Swizzle Sticks pedicure, gift baskets from Deva Dave's and Izo Bizo, and an assortment of sex toys. But Sereda hopes Gender Bender goers will take more away from the experience than just dildos and butt plugs.
"The Gender Bender is also about raising awareness and raising the profile of gays and lesbians on campus," he says.
The cabaret is GLASS' major fundraiser of the year and Sereda wants a portion of the profits to go to Act Out! a leadership development initiative for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-identified youth, to further its work in support of gay rights.
Sereda acknowledges the Gender Bender is a change from the usual for many who attend, but points out that it will be set in the safe and familiar environment of the Den, an ideal setting for an event encouraging both tolerance and fun, kind of like the university experience itself.