Pride Week began Sunday with the annual Pancakes With Some Queer on Top offering free pancakes and some queer-themed films. The remainder of the week will be dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ culture and educating the Mason community about relevant issues.

“The planning for Pride Week is always an unpredictable and fun thing,” said Ric Chollar, associate director of the LGBTQ chapter at George Mason University, “because we bring in lots of students as well as whatever departments and offices want to help us in the planning process.”

This year’s Pride Week takes its cues from Mason’s very own motto, “Where innovation is tradition.” It offers events that students have come to regard as traditional, like the drag show and the Pancakes this past Sunday, while also introducing a host of new events.

“Some years the group wants to fall back on traditional programs that we have every year,” Chollar said. “But this year, with regards to things we do all the time, the group said we don’t have to do all of them just for the sake of doing them. So we’ve got some innovative things and some traditional ones as well.”

First-time events include Let’s Talk About Leather, a photo forum and speed friending.

“I’m excited for Let’s Talk About Leather,” said junior marketing major Neil Offner. “It’s interesting. I don’t know too much about the leather community, and it says they’re going to show a little film, a themed movie.”

The drag show will be making a return this year with a new guest to lead the festivities.

“We’re really excited about our celebrity host,” Chollar said. “We’re bringing in Carmen Carrera, from ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’”

Even though the drag show is one of the more popular events to take place during Pride Week, it’s not the only one.

“The drag show ends up being what everyone thinks about when they think about Pride Week,” Chollar said. “But whatever way we can perpetuate that that’s not all that Pride Week is, we should be doing that.”

Among the more educational events taking place this week is Asexuality: The Invisible A, an event that aims to clear up misconceptions about what it means to be asexual in a world dominated by sex.

“A balancing act we have to perform is between going with the images that the community already has versus trying to highlight areas that don’t get a lot of attention,” Chollar said. “So we try to consciously go beyond just gay white men and drag queens.”

Monday night, The Shondes will be rocking out in Dewberry Hall.

“I’m really looking forward to the Shondes coming,” said freshman conflict analysis & resolution major Catherine Castelvecchi, “which is this feminist LGBTQ band that StandOUT is sponsoring. I’m really sad that I have to miss some of it from class, but I’m going to come late, and it’s going to be awesome because if you look up their music it’s really good.”

Another event taking place this year is about Mason as a community and how it reacts to its LGBTQ community.

“One thing that’s happening this year that’s a little bit on the serious side is what we’re calling the photo voice community forum,” Chollar said, “and what that is we’ve been having students go out and take pictures of the Mason community that illustrate their feelings on what the campus climate is like. They’ve picked out their favorite photos and they’re going to be shown in Mason Hall atrium. Then we’re having a forum where the students are going to talk about what these pictures mean to them and what their experiences here at Mason have been like and what we can do to make the climate better.”

Regardless of your sexual orientation, Pride Week is a celebration, and all of Mason should get in on the fun.

“People should come to everything because it’s going to be fun, and they’re going to learn a lot,” Castelvecchi said.