EQuIP plays host to Queerientation

EQuIP Chair Adam Morrison invited all students to attend this month’s Queerientation events at the kick-off barbecue on Tuesday.
EQuIP Chair Adam Morrison invited all students to attend this month’s Queerientation events at the kick-off barbecue on Tuesday.

Back in high school, Jason Vissers, ArtSci ’08, was not involved in queer groups or projects for one simple reason: there were none.

The second-year student from Nova Scotia joined about 75 other students Tuesday evening at a barbecue held by the Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuIP), kicking off more than a month of activities Vissers said his school lacked.

“There was nothing remotely similar to this at my high school,” Vissers said. “[So I’ve been involved with EQuIP] the entire time I’ve been here. It’s, like, the first thing I did when I got here.”

EQuIP—or Education on Queer Issues Project—located in the Grey House at 51 Bader Lane, is a committee of the Social Issues Commission (SIC) of the AMS. It promotes a positive environment for queer students and for queer communities in Kingston.

Vissers said in choosing a university to attend, he considered how each institution and its geographic location would affect his level of involvement in queer communities.

“It was a very important [factor in my] decision of where I went to school—I just wanted somewhere ... with a good-sized population where I could make a difference,” he said.

Universities in Toronto were quickly dropped from Vissers’ list of prospective schools because he thought it might be too easy to get caught up in the city and he wouldn’t be able to have an impact on the queer community, he said.

“It was very important to me that I be involved because there wasn’t that opportunity in high school,” he said. “It’s important to be involved in your community and I feel that the queer community is one that needs leadership now and in the future.”

With attendance up 100 per cent from last year, the Grad Club barbecue kicked off a month of activities intended to educate students about queer issues, as well as inform queer students about what is available in Kingston. It’s also an opportunity to meet people involved in the local queer community.

“It’s a good idea for everyone to come to these events because there doesn’t seem to be a big queer community [in Kingston], as in Toronto or Montreal,” said Linda Plong, ArtSci ’06.

She added the larger turnout was a positive step forward for building a stronger queer community in the city.

“I’ve always gone out to the events and it definitely seems this was a bigger turn out than in previous years,” Plong said.

The AMS committee that eventually evolved into EQuIP began leading alternative Orientation Week activities in the early 1990s. Over the past two years, Queerientation events have been held throughout September and October to ensure students have time to participate and to be inclusive to upper-years as well.

“Something we’re really trying to promote about Queerientation is that it’s a month that’s ... full of activities available for all students, all years and community members and the SGPS too,” said Jennifer Holub, AMS social issues commissioner.

“It brings students of similar interest groups together rather than faculties.”

EQuIP Chair Adam Morrison said he thinks the selection of events will make the month a success.

“I thought it was so amazing that so many people turned out and [that they were] from so many different groups and faculties,” he said.

Queerientation events run until Oct. 12. Organizers of the Reelout Film Festival will be showing two films on Sept. 20. At the Condom Art event on Sept. 22, participants can create works of art out of condoms. A Take Back the Night March and an AIDS walk are also scheduled next week.

Queerientation Event Schedule

Sept. 19—Sex Talk: The sexperts from the SHRC will be talking about sex toys, relationships and everything you wanted to know about queer sex but were too afraid to ask.
Grey House, 51 Bader Lane, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 20—Reelout Films: Films include Mysterious Skin and My Summer of Love. Suggested donation: $10.
Etherington Auditorium, 94 Stuart Street, 7 p.m.

Sept. 22—Condom Art: Make artwork out of condoms with local artists and AIDS activists.
Robert Sutherland Room, 2nd floor JDUC, 7 p.m.

Sept. 23—Take Back the Night March: A women’s anti-violence demonstration that calls attention to the right of women to safety on the streets.
Confederation Basin Park, 7 p.m.

Sept. 25—AIDS Walk: Raise funds for HIV/AIDS Regional Services (HARS).
King Street Pavilion, MacDonald Park, 6 p.m. registration, 7p.m. walk.

Sept. 27—Coffee and Priscilla: Coffee at the Sleepless Goat followed by the film
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Lower Ceilidh, JDUC, 6:30 p.m.

Every Tuesday—S.A.F.E.: Students Advocating For Equality is a social and supportive group for queer youth and allies between the ages of 14-24.
Street Smart, 12 Montreal Street, 7 p.m.

Every Wednesday—Coming Out, Living After Discussion Group: Weekly meetings of this support group cover many different topics.
Ban Righ Centre, 32 Bader Lane, 7:30 p.m.

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