Conestoga news

May 30, 2024 10:17 AM

Pride Month is an opportunity to be more intentional about support for 2SLGBTQIA+ community

This Pride Month, organizers of events and activities being held across Conestoga’s campuses want to amplify the celebration and support for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

2SLGBTQIA+ Social.jpg
Anthony Nguyen, Student Engagement and Experience programmer, Inclusion & Belonging (right), hosted a 2SLGBTQIA+ social at the Brantford campus.

Pride flags, rainbow balloon columns, outreach activities and kick-off events at campuses will boost the month’s visibility at the college during June, which is internationally recognized as Pride Month.

“In June, we can be intentional about being even louder about our support,” said Anthony Nguyen (he/him), Student Engagement and Experience programmer, Inclusion & Belonging.

The month is a time to recognize the experience and contributions of 2SLGBTQIA+ students, employees, and community members at the college.

“Pride is a period of progress. Pride can make folks feel very liberated and really echo that sense of community for so many people. It can speak to safety and belonging and make you realize that there is a thriving queer and gender-diverse community everywhere you go. It’s so important for us to highlight queer joy that exists in all our communities, especially during June and continuing all year round.”

2SLGBTQIA+ represents two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual, and many other identities outside of heterosexual and cisgender paradigms.

“Queer folks have always existed and we’ve always been around and it’s important to find opportunities like Pride Month where we can be loud,” Nguyen said.

Student Engagement will host an outreach activity at all campuses to ask students what Pride means to them. The month is not only for those in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to celebrate, but also for others to show allyship, said Nguyen, lead for 2SLGBTQIA+ student programming.

“This year, we are really increasing our visibility, showing more allyship in a lot of visual ways.”

That includes Pride balloon columns at busy spots such as the Student Life Centre on the Doon campus, specially designed virtual backgrounds available to use for meetings, and flying the the intersex-inclusive Pride flag. This newer design incorporates intersex yellow and a purple circle next to the transgender white, pink and blue colours. Yellow has been recognized as an intersex colour, representing those who may not fit the binary.

“Learning about the community never stops and there are always opportunities for us to increase our learning at Conestoga, and one of the ways is introducing the intersex-inclusive Pride Flag,” Nguyen said.

People are encouraged to learn more about the community and the origin of the Pride movement.

Nguyen also stressed: “Allyship is an action.”

Be curious and ask questions, then show up as an ally. That could include attending an event, listening and learning about identities within the queer spectrum, supporting a gender-diverse business and checking in with queer folks in your life.

Student Engagement prioritizes programming for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community year-round, but June brings the necessity of recognition into focus.

“The month is needed because for so long in society, queer folks weren’t celebrated. The world is progressing and we’re coming to a place in life where specific bodies are prioritizing the celebration of specific equity-deserving groups,” Nguyen said.

“It’s just a time for us to increase representation and to highlight and normalize queerness that is all around us.”

Student Engagement supports students with getting started and transitioning to college life, finding meaningful opportunities to get involved, and developing skills and knowledge to support academic, personal and professional success. The office is committed to welcoming and including all members of the diverse college community through initiatives that allow everyone to develop a sense of belonging and connection.