Queer Students Liaison spearheads third annual Pride Week celebrations
Despite significant advancements in acceptance of the queer community in the last few decades, the collective remains largely sidelined. Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) Queer Students Liaison Clarice Scop is continuing the growing tradition of a week-long pride on campus that she hopes will increase awareness of issues still facing the queer community and encourage students, staff and faculty to mingle.
“Jon Kinsley, the Queer Students’ Liaison before me, he started the tradition of Pride Week [on campus],” said Queer Students Liaison Clarice Scop. “He was definitely extremely good at what he was doing and I think I kind of wanted to continue his tradition, because he worked so hard on it.”
Scop explained that the weeklong event is a group effort among members of the collective and that she serves as the facilitator. A couple of changes from last year’s Pride Week were made, including a request to make all events inclusive to students of all ages. “Formally Queer”, the dance party that will cap off Pride Week at Groundswell on Thursday evening on Mar. 16 from 7 to 10 pm, is open to students of all ages. Societal gender constraints, however, are not invited.
Another change that was made to the agenda of events was the reduction in the number of workshops. Last year, three workshops that focussed on drag, community and anti-oppression were hosted simultaneously, which resulted in few people being able to attend each. Scop has organized just one workshop: Allyship 101, scheduled for Tuesday, Mar. 14 at 11:30 am in the CSU Maple Lounge. Allyship is an unknown concept to many, but Scop explained that you don’t have to fit in to be welcomed by the community. “Allyship is the concept that you might not necessarily identify with certain people, in this case the LGBTQ community, but you want to learn about the community, you want to learn how to support them, to be an ally basically,” she said.
The week’s events will kick off on Monday at 11 am in the CSU Members’ Centre (Library Lounge) with a Community Resource Fair open to all students who want to learn more about the resources available to LGBTQIA+. Scop explained that although the community has become more visible and accepted in past decades, there are still significant issues. “There’s a lot more encompassed in the queer community than the acronym LGBTQ,” she said. “You can inclue IA, I being intersex, A being asexual. There’s a huge list of folks and a lot of them aren’t visible either in the campus community or just in [general].”
While CapU has been supportive of the community, there are a lot of issues that Scop would still like to see addressed, one of them being transphobia, which applies to the transgender community. “It’s not as widely known or considered, so that’s one of the issues that we try to bring to the forefront, not just sexuality,” she said. “There’s room for improvement on the campus as a whole.”
She spoke of seeing transgender students, staff, faculty and even international students who adopt Anglicized names allowed to use their preferred names on identification cards, class lists and email accounts, and of seeing an increase in the number of gender-neutral washrooms on campus. “A year or two ago we had the single-stall all-gender washrooms installed, which is progress, but there is something that we are eventually wanting to install which is a multi-stall gender-neutral washroom,” she said.
Following the Allyship Workshop, on Tuesday, Mar. 14 at 5 pm is an open mic night in the CSU Members Centre with a cozy theme, which here means blankets, pillows and onesies will not only be welcome but encouraged. On Wednesday, Mar. 15 at noon in the same location, a number of short films produced by CapU’s Motion Picture Arts (MOPA) students that address themes in the LGBTQIA+ community will be screened. On Thursday, Mar. 16 at 11:30 am in LB 188 instructor Ki Wight of the MOPA program will facilitate a ChatLive discussion that involves queer perspectives related to current issues in the community, including representation and reconciliation.
Unsure of whether Pride Week would live or die outside of Kinsley’s jurisdiction, especially with the weeklong festivities relying on so many resources and hours of planning, Scop is proud to have the honour of continuing the tradition.
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