In the midst of a snowstorm, midterms and final papers, there remains something to celebrate this month.
This month marks is Pride Month at Queen’s, where the community is encouraged to celebrate the LGBTTIQQ2SA community.
Queen’s Pride Project (QPP) has organized several events in celebration of Pride Month, including speakers, artists and a gender and sexual diversity resource fair.
Created to organize and plan Pride Month at Queen’s, since 2008, QPP aims to celebrate the history, courage, diversity and future of the LGBTTIQQ2SA communities in the surrounding area.
“Pride Month functions as a celebration of our identities and active resistance against the pervasive exclusion and discrimination surrounding gender and sexuality,” said Sarah Eves, one of the general managers of the Queen’s Pride Project.
“This year, Pride tried to be responsive to local context in several ways,” she added.
Intended to provide social and educational experiences to their attendees, Queen’s Pride designed the Pride Month events this year to appeal to not only Queen’s students and alumni but to anyone who was interested in attending, she said.
QPP organized two speaker events this week, which were called “Gender and Sexual Non-conformity at Queen’s in the Early 20th Century” and “Reflecting on Two-Spirit Activism in Canada and the U.S.”
History professor and activist Steven Maynard led a talk titled “An Adventure in Fairyland” last Monday.
The talk, held in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies building, touched on the history of sexual politics and the LGBT community at Queen’s in the 1920s. He aimed to raise awareness of what life was like for the
LGBT students and anyone who associated with them 94 years ago.
“We can go back to the 1920s and 30s and see the people were dealing with issues of sex and gender, whether that was students just trying to carve out their own space or whether it was the university trying to regulate students’ behaviour,” Maynard said.
He spoke of universities trying to keep certain kinds of issues of sexuality under wraps so their reputations were not ruined.
“I think it is important for people to have some sense that this history existed and what it might tell us in terms of today. It gives people the courage to speak out if you know that there have been people in the past who have done the same,” he added.
Maynard said a queer presence on campus is important today because in the past there were no support systems like these.
In commemoration of indigenous pride, Dana Wesley, ArtSci ’09, led a talk titled “Berdache to Two-Spirit” last Wednesday.
She began by explaining the term “Two-Spirit”, meaning indigenous North Americans who fulfill one of many mixed gender roles, previously defined as Berdache.
“I think the creation of the term Two-Spirit helps people to be able to express themselves and in doing so also talk and have discussion about how it is important to honour and value
Two-Spirit people within indigenous communities,” Wesley said.
Wesley added that the creation of the Two-Spirit organization communities are mobilizing and participating in ways that are liberating, as homosexuality was and still remains a severe sin in some Native American communities.
After the talk, Wesley summarized how we, as Queen’s students, can support the Two-Spirit movement.
“The most important thing that undergraduate students can do is educate themselves first on those kinds of issues. Then start building alliances with Two-Spirit people,” she said.