Queerientation kicks off with flying colours

EQuIP kicks off monthlong series of queer-oriented events

Leigh McGrade, left, and Darrean Baga are EQuIP’s co-chairs.
Leigh McGrade, left, and Darrean Baga are EQuIP’s co-chairs.
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The Education on Queer Issues project (EQuIP), an Education Committee of the AMS Social Issues Commission, is hosting Queerientation 2014 this month.

Darrean Baga and Leigh McGrade are EQuIP’s Co-Chairs.

A series of over 15 queer-oriented events are scheduled on campus and in the community until Sept. 30. Many events will take place in collaboration with the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) Kingston’s Alt-Frosh week.

All events are free and operate on a drop-in basis, so students can choose which events and how many they want to attend.

Baga said events are mostly catered toward first-years because they may be students “who have left their old friends at home and may have difficulty adjusting to the new climate here at Queen’s.”

Both social and educational events are slated to occur. A social event new this year is the “Gender Bender Dance” in Wallace Hall on Sept. 27.

“So, perhaps if you’re not used to wearing make-up, you can put a little bit of eyeliner on or maybe can go full out drag,” Baga, ArtSci ’17, said.

“It’s kind of like a judgment-free place just to have fun and experiment with gender, gender expression.”

Educational events include a discussion on queer virginity and EQuIP’s weekly discussion groups on Mondays from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Dodgeball at the Physical Education Centre, a yoga class at Studio 330 in downtown Kingston and a screening of Cabaret at the Screening Room are also scheduled.

Three events ­— a pancake brunch, tie-dye event and lego building event with Positive Allies and Queers in Engineering — have already taken place. McGrade estimates that 15-25 people attended each of these events.

Many events are similar to those from last year but McGrade said the biggest difference is that there are many more events this year.

While EQuIP is currently hiring a committee to aid in organizing queer and queer-oriented events, McGrade said future events will take place for Asexuality Awareness Week and the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

As for who can participate in Queerientation, McGrade extends the invitation to all.

“Everybody’s welcome. You don’t have to identify as anything,” McGrade said.

“It’s a space to just come and be yourself and to make new friends and meet new people without any fear of being judged as one thing or being labeled as something that you might not be…” McGrade continued.

“… which I think is really important not only for queer students but other students on campus who might feel that they’re always being labeled as something that they’re not.”

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