Fair promotes diversity

Gender and Sexual Diversity Resource Fair returns to campus

Booths at the Gender and Sexual Diversity Fair.
Booths at the Gender and Sexual Diversity Fair.
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This past Tuesday evening saw the return of the Gender and Sexual Diversity Resource Fair in Grant Hall.

The event, organized by student group Queen’s Pride, welcomed all students on and off campus to engage with LGBTTIQQ2SA and feminist-related groups.

There were about a dozen groups in attendance with tables set up, ranging from event planning to advocacy and awareness groups.

The two guest speakers included the founder of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN), Jessica Danforth, and board-certified

sexologist Den Temin.

Temin is also active with Pride Toronto as a transsexual pride co-team lead. Last fall’s speakers included Thomas Pritchard, AMS vice-president of university affairs, and Arig Girgrah, assistant dean of student affairs. Girgrah was invited back to emcee the winter resource fair.

Tess Hopkins, ArtSci ’14, said she was excited to hear Danforth speak, as she’s well-known for her feminist publication, Feminism

For Real.

Hopkins, who is a collective member of the student-funded group Levana Gender Advocacy Centre, added she also looked forward to having Girgrah emcee.

“I think it’s a really big deal for someone that involved with the Queen’s administration to be in support, but also be at the event,” she said.

Girgrah, who often collaborates with on-campus groups for educational events, said these resource fairs should be of interest to the entire student body because they help foster a positive and tight-knit community.

She added that she sees the necessity of repeating these

events to create an inclusive culture.

“The visibility of support for such groups is critically important for students who might identify with some of these populations,” she said.

“It also sends a message to the broader community that … there’s openness and there’s room for the diversity of students on this campus.” The Queen’s Native Student Association (QNSA) and Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre (FDASC) also had a booth.

Leah Combs, ArtSci ’16, a QNSA volunteer said students may be unaware that all QNSA and FDASC events are for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.

“Four Directions is about diversity and it’s about welcoming people of other backgrounds and cultures and sexual and gender identities,” she said, “so I think it perfectly fits in with that whole diversity idea.” Combs added that the QNSA biweekly wellness circles, hosted at FDASC and often facilitated by an elder, are a safe, welcoming space for anyone.

Men Who Like Feminism, a group dedicated to promoting healthy masculinity, also returned to the resource fair.

Megan Kot, ArtSci ’14, said they had a sign at their table to ensure there was no confusion between their group and the nearby

Men’s Issues Awareness Society.

“I would basically say it seems like there’s a more apparent need for Men Who Like Feminism now, given the antagonisms of [Men’s Issues Awareness Society],” she said.

Kot added that the Men Who Like Feminism group, which was founded two years ago, sees conversations of feminism and masculinity as compatible and that one doesn’t undermine the other. “It’s basically to open up your perspective to things, because I find some people come in with these preconceived notions,” she said.

Given that the same sort of familiar faces attend these resource fairs, Kot said the groups are working to reach a larger Queen’s demographic.

“I would say more often than not, the reaction has been positive,” she said.

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