Yesterday marked the return of Pride Night, which was first introduced last year by Gareth Dybiec. The occasion was advertised as a university-wide event and its popularity was proved by an impressive turnout, which filled the Roger Kirk Center. This year the performances involved dance acts, a comedy show by the Shambles, vocals by Hannah Scregg and a Leeds drag act called Miss Sam Buca. It was during the drag act that a group of people in the audience began to take offense to some of the comments that were made.
JCRC member Aman Sandhu said,
There was an awkward scene on stage where the drag act was confronted and then the fire alarm began. The lights went on and we were all sent outside.
A fire engine was called to the scene, but it was later speculated that certain members of the audience had deliberately set the alarm off in an attempt to end the act.
Dybiec, who was recently re-elected as Chair of James College, responded to the misunderstanding by stating that,
I would like to apologise if last night’s event upset anyone. My JCRC have worked very hard to make this an enjoyable event for everyone. However I will never condone the acts of a few immature students. Calling out brave firefighters from a real emergency is just stupid and immature and I hope that no other defenseless people needed them tonight.
In reply to Dybiec’s comments, Effie Swanson, a member of the LGBTQ Society who took offense to some of the comments made said,
Many people were deeply offended and felt very uncomfortable being in a room where these things were allowed to be said. I am really upset that it came to the point where nobody involved in organising (Pride Night) was prepared to end the deeply distressing act. Nobody should feel that there is no other way not to have to listen to racist and transphobic comments. There were aggressive accusations towards us on the night.
Fortunately nobody was harmed during the event. Miss Sam Buca was unavailable for comment.