Nyle DiMarco, winner of “America’s Next Top Model” and “Dancing with the Stars,” will deliver the University of Louisville’s Pride Week keynote speech later this month.
This year’s Pride Week coincides with Deaf Awareness Week, allowing for an intersectional look at issues impacting the groups. DiMarco, a member of both communities, will give his firsthand experience with those intersections, a news release said.
Choosing DiMarco helps the LGBT Center “meet new friends in the community who maybe hadn’t connected with us before, especially those will live in the intersection of deaf and queer culture,” the center’s director, Brian Buford, said in an email exchange.
“As student affairs professionals, we want to recognize how beautiful and complex we are by creating more spaces and events where people can express their whole selves,” Buford said of the focus on intersectionality.
Centered in the middle of the week’s events, DiMarco’s speech is scheduled for Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Student Activities Center Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public, but those interested are asked to register in advance.
In 2015, DiMarco became the first deaf winner of “America’s Next Top Model.” The next year, he won “Dancing with the Stars.”
He’s been a LGBT and deaf community advocate throughout his career. DiMarco has worked with multiple deaf advocacy groups, along with helping build an app that teaches conversational American Sign Language, according to the event description.
“For the last several years, we’ve chosen our Pride keynote speakers with an eye toward recognizing the diversity that exists in the LGBTQ community,” Buford said. “We look for speakers who will resonate not just with queer students, but also with others who might not otherwise attend a Pride event.”
The Student Activities Board is behind getting top names to campus, Buford said.
“They are a group of dedicated students who work hard to create programs that help us create a vibrant campus culture, and they do everything from negotiating with potential speakers to designing the marketing materials and the agenda for what they want to see as a result of that person’s visit,” Buford said.
The LGBT Center and Department of Classical and Modern Languages, are also sponsoring the event, according to the release.
UofL’s Pride Week stretches from Sept. 24 to 28. Events include a kickoff fair, queer writers showcase and a showing of the movie “Love, Simon.” A full event list can be found at the LGBT Center’s website.