Pride Week undergoes expansion

Seventh annual Week offers more social activities spread over a longer period

This year’s Pride Week isn’t a week at all, but a two-week-long social and educational affair.

Queen’s Pride Project directors Alexandra Strelbisky, ArtSci ’15, and Jessica Sinclair, ArtSci ’13 have revamped the events for this year’s Pride Week, the seventh annual at Queen’s.

Strelbisky and Sinclair made quite a few changes this year, they said, to ensure that student turn out would be higher. This included moving Pride Week up to February, instead of March like in previous years.

“We hoped by moving it to February it [would allow] us to spread ourselves out,” Sinclair said. “And now it is spread out over two weeks, so people don’t feel so overwhelmed.” Last year, Pride Week at Queen’s was a week-long celebration with about four events a day. Sinclair said she believes the turn out was quite small because there were so many events overlapping.

Now that it’s spread out over two weeks, students have more time to plan out which events they want to participate in, Sinclair said.

“The Pride Week in March was normally around exam time, so we lost a lot of students to studying,” Strelbisky said.

To get a higher turn out this year, the organizers asked students what they wanted out of the week.

“What we heard was that they wanted more social events,” she said. This year they added a campus sleepover, which will be hosted in the Red Room in Kingston Hall. The details of the sleepover will be available on their Facebook page.

The group also planned an LGBTQ ”takeover,” which involved choosing a bar — in this case the Spot Nightclub — for all those who want a more inclusive bar experience. “We want to show the students that there is no need to be afraid,” Strelbisky said. “We (the directors) want people to know that [this week] is a celebration and we want to promote who we are.” Strelbisky mentioned that students have been victimized at the larger bars because of who they dance with and can face constant harassment over their sexuality.

Sinclair pointed out that she wants students to realize that anyone can come to their events.

The events are free, except for the Reel Out films. Financial aid can be arranged for those who speak to the directors.

Strelbisky said they’ve faced difficulty in the past with advertising, and to combat this issue, the directors want to target first-year students to get more involved.

“We hope to do a lot of outreach for first year students because they are going to be here longer,” said Sinclair. “It is harder to find places to get involved in within the circles you are [automatically] placed in.” The co-chairs said their main goal for the “week” is to create a positive social scene for Queen’s and the community.

“I personally believe we are celebrating a diversity that is available here at Queen’s,” Strelbisky said.

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