The Queer & Allied People Society, a St. Thomas University LGBTQ student club, will host the first-ever pride week celebration on campus from Oct. 3 to Oct. 8.
Al Cusack, co-founder and co-chair of Q&A, said this event is for students who go home to small towns or unaccepting families over the summer and do not have the opportunity to celebrate pride.
“It’s really important for the university to celebrate pride because we’ve already shown that we want to be a safe space for queer and trans people, but we want to take that a step further and not just be safe but be celebratory,” Cusack said.
Sara Nason, a member of Q&A and one of the organizers of pride week events, said they’re planning one event daily for every colour of the pride flag.
The first day, Monday, is themed after the colour red and it’s all about heritage and history. Nason said it’s to counteract the “straight-washing” of people in history books.
“A lot of people don’t learn about, when they learn about Anne Frank, that in her diary she expressed a lot of feelings towards her female friend and that a lot of historians read her as potentially bisexual or some form of non-mono-sexual but you don’t learn about that in your history classes,” Nason said.
Tuesday is themed orange, and the event is a coming-out coffee house.
“It’s going to be in Kinsella Auditorium. We had a coming-out coffee house last year around the same time and it was a major hit. So many people came out both figuratively and literally,” Nason said.
She said people can sing, perform and play instruments among other forms of artistic expression. President of the university Dawn Russell will be present.
Wednesday is yellow day, titled Sunflower Stories. The event will be a literature reading.
“[It’s for] queer and trans authors who wrote things or people who want to read writings by queer and trans authors who they admire,” Nason said.
This event will be at the Great Hall.
“It’s going to be closed off … People will not have to worry about strangers coming in and out,” Nason said.
Cusack said green day is Thursday and there will be sex trivia at the Cellar pub in the Student Union Building.
“We’re working on questions that will help to inform people about diverse ranges of sexuality rather than heterosexual sex,” Cusack said.
Blue day, Friday, is sapphire social at the George Martin cafeteria, and Saturday is Purple Pride which is a march.
“It will start at Forest Hill. Anyone is welcome to come to Forest Hill [residences] at 3 o’clock and march with us up to campus where we’re gonna have a small community fair.”
Cusack said Q&A have been planning these events since June.
Erin Fredericks, sociology professor at STU and the LGBTQIA+ resource advisor said this is an unprecedented event.
She said it’s important to have it because it allows time to celebrate the queer and trans community on campus.
“I also think that the fact that we have it is an important indication of what’s important to the university right now and that providing services and societies and support for queer and trans students matters to us so it’s nice from a visibility perspective.”
Fredericks said the wide range of events, from educational to fun, is a good thing.
“There’s so much focus for marginalized students for being advocates and doing a lot of work and supporting one another and that matters so much,” she said. “But it’s also nice to have things like the social event. It’s just a good time for members of the community and allies.”
Cusack said the events are open to everyone, whether they identify as LGBTQ or not, as long as they are supportive and respectful.
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