Bigger & prouder

Pride Week to feature more collaboration between student groups

Caitlyn Clark, Queen’s Pride Week co-ordinator, says the week’s events will raise awareness about the intersection between identity categories.
Caitlyn Clark, Queen’s Pride Week co-ordinator, says the week’s events will raise awareness about the intersection between identity categories.

Queen’s Pride Week, which runs from March 8 to 13, will highlight queer research happening on campus, co-ordinator Caitlyn Clark said.

Clark, ArtSci ’10, is the publicity chair for Queen’s Pride Project (QPP), which is co-ordinating the week.

“We wanted Queen’s Pride to be a chance to bring in guest speakers, have workshops and to have more of an educational spin,” she said, adding that there’s a mix of social and educational events planned.

Clark said Kingston has its own Pride Week during the summer, but QPP’s week is a chance for students who aren’t in Kingston during the summer to still participate in queer-related events.

“We wanted students to participate in events during the school year,” she said.

Clark said she hopes the week will provide an outlet for queer students and their allies to community build, learn what’s happening on campus and network with others. “We wanted to really emphasize the fact that there’s queer research happening on campus.”

The week will include lectures, discussion groups, film screenings and a Pride Prom social event. Tracey Sandilands, Toronto Pride executive director, will speak at the opening ceremony on Monday. The ceremony runs from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Robert Sutherland Room of the JDUC. Clark said she hopes the week will highlight recent situations of homophobia on campus and suggest possible changes that can be made to avoid future ones.

“We had that problem with the Gael at the beginning of the year, which I think a lot of people learned from,” she said, referring to a Frosh Week orientation leader’s comment about QPP during Frosh Week that was regarded as derogatory to students who identify as queer.

Clark said she thinks incidents like that can be avoided in the future through improvements in staff training.

Bringing in people from QPP and other student rights groups to facilitate equity training or the Positive Space program might help reduce those comments among student leaders, she said.

Clark said this year’s Pride Week will feature events from different student groups dealing with different aspects of social identity, such as gender, class and race. She said the events will raise awareness about the intersections between identity categories.

“There’s definitely big room for growth,” she said. “We want to see the club and the week grow. ... We all have similar goals. We should all be trying to help each other out.”

Clark said she’s worked on Pride Week for three years and has seen the project grow.

“I think as Pride Week has grown we’ve kind of had more resources in terms of operating budget and volunteers,” she said. “Our volunteers and exec committee really bring to the table what they want for the week.”

Clark said Pride Week also welcomes students from other schools in Kingston to participate, such as the Royal Military College (RMC) and St. Lawrence College.

“We’re so close by, we should be working together. I hope in the future we can do a joint week,” she said.

Clark said she’s happy with the number of groups who have contacted her to help publicize the events.

“That shows the campus is noticing that these issues are more and more important to Queen’s students,” she said. “There’s progress being made and steps are being taken in the right direction. ... I hope that after I graduate, QPP continues to grow.”

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