Pride Week a first for Queen’s

Inclusive events meant to raise questions, explore queer issues

EQuIP’s Pride Week committee met last night at the Grey House. Opening ceremonies are Monday at 4 p.m. in the McLaughlin Room of the JDUC.
EQuIP’s Pride Week committee met last night at the Grey House. Opening ceremonies are Monday at 4 p.m. in the McLaughlin Room of the JDUC.
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Next week, Queen’s will be showing its Pride for the very first time. The Education on Queer Issues
Project (EQuIP) is organizing Queen’s Pride Week, which will take place next Monday to Saturday.
“We’re not looking to forge an independent and insular queer community,” said Adam Morrison, EquIP member and Pride Week co-ordinator. “One of the huge aims of Pride that we’re working at is showing
pride on campus, which means people who are queer can walk around hand in hand, and can express their sexual identity without being afraid,” he said.

“But it also means everyone taking the time to think about, How inclusive is the environment
I’m in?’... How can Queen’s be more queer-positive in general? That’s why we don’t want it to seem like these events are only for queer people; it’s for their friends, and for anyone that is queer positive.”

Some form of queer issues organization has existed on campus since 1973. In 2001, EQuIP formed a more cohesive group as part of the AMS Social Issues Commission. Meanwhile, Queerientation, a series of events during Frosh Week that are geared towards queer and questioning students, has ecome a permanent fixture of Frosh Week. Morrison said the addition of a second, more specific week in second term will create much more visibility for the queer community on campus.

But he’s not sure why it has taken so long to bring a Pride Week to students at Queen’s.

“[The Kingston Pride Parade] in June is run by the community, and until recently there has not been a
lot of involvement by the Queen’s community, mostly because it’s in June and there aren’t a lot of
[students] here,” he said. “In the last few years, the AMS, through EQuIP, has had a float in the parade and has participated actively.”

Morrison added that EQuIP has also organized some events during the weekend festival. German professor Ellie Kennedy, a member of Queen’s University Association of Queer Employees, said queer theory is an important part of Pride Week because it creates an environment of inclusion and allows students, staff and faculty to discover new ways of learning. “It’s important that students are exposed to a variety of perspectives. Queer theory aims to deconstruct a ot of assumptions that are made
on a daily basis,” said Kennedy, who also organizes an event on campus called Queer Inquiry at Queen’s.

“Even things like nature shows have animals reproducing, and that leads us to believe that people should reproduce, and therefore must be heterosexual. Kennedy said queer theory is an excellent way to critically analyze texts, and provide a new way of looking at history, culture, life and ideas of diversity. “One thing that we hope will come out of this event is to get people who are researching queer theory at Queen’s to gather in one room and meet each other, and make connections,” she said.
“We want to reach out to the Queen’s community and let people know what’s going on [in terms of queer research].”

In terms of Pride Week as a whole, she feels the Queen’s community will be very accepting of it.
“We have a strong identity as a university, and I think that Pride Week is something that will be able to be built into that identity,” she said. Anna Fischer, OutWrite! chair, agreed.

“The Queen’s student government makes us one of only a handful of schools which sustain a magazine devoted to entirely queer content,” she said, adding that she feels Pride at Queen’s can only be a positive thing. “I’m excited for Queen’s Pride Week. I know that like OutWrite!, it will increase the visibility of queer students on campus, and help to foster a safer, more accepting environment.”

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For a full list of Pride Week events, please see prideweek.org

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