Royal Family Dinner kicks off LGBT History Month


Photo Editor

The LBGTQ Office of Culture & Community started its month of events for LGBT History Month with the Royal Family Dinner and a performance from Cyon Flare.

By Campus Reporter

The vibrant and expressive Chicago entertainer Cyon Flare lip-synced his way through a series of theatrical and upbeat covers on Oct. 1 at Columbia’s annual Royal Family Dinner. 

The event, a dinner designed to celebrate students and make them “feel royal” was held in the Conaway Center of the 1104 S. Wabash Ave. Building. It was organized in collaboration betweeen the LGBTQ Office of Culture and Community and Common Ground, Columbia’s LGBT and ally student organization, according to Lex Lawson, coordinator of the LGBTQ Office of Culture & Community.  

“One of the first things I was asked when I started here was, ‘Are we doing the dinner with the royal family again?’” Lawson said. “It is an event students really appreciate and enjoy.”

Flare started the evening by speaking to students about self-love and honoring LGBT history.

“‘Royalness’ comes from taking ownership and knowing who you are and accepting who you are,” Flare said.

Flare said he was happy to join the college’s LGBT community after Lawson invited him to perform.

“I have been waiting for an opportunity to be a part of Columbia, or any university for that matter,” Flare said.

The Royal Family Dinner featured a photobooth with props like crowns so students could honor their inner king or queen. Students could also write their name on a leaf of “The Royal Family Tree,” a poster that outlined people’s royal names, where they are rooted and what they want their legacy to be. 

Before welcoming Flare to the stage, Lawson spoke to attendees about the importance of LGBT History Month.

“Learning about [LGBT history] changed who I am,” Lawson said. “Our ancestors have created space for us. Being connected to that and feeling a sense of resistance and community fuels who I am today.”

During the show, Flare lip-synced, sang and danced to songs including “Johnny One Note,” “My Funny Valentine” and “Moondance.” 

“Fire,” the original song Flare performed, was inspired by the metaphorical fire and passion Flare has seen within the LGBT community, he said.

“I wanted to combine that fire-like spirit we have when we come together to have a good time or to make change because often we forget it starts with a spark of anger or frustration,” Flare said.

Isla Brazier, a freshman art & art history major, said they attended the event to get more involved in Common Ground.

“Common Ground has been a really great community for me so far and I was excited to celebrate,” Brazier said. 

The Royal Family Dinner is important for the LGBT community to continue to make their presence known, Flare said.

“Presence is power and in a university setting it cannot be overstated,” Flare said. “Being out loud and proud consciously, consistently and creatively is important.”

The dinner brought students together to celebrate and honor each other and the community, Lawson said.

“[The Royal Family Dinner] is important to celebrate and affirm LGBTQ people and experiences as we live in a world that does not always do that,” Lawson said.