Students show their pride all week

Last week, OUT@UTM hosted UTMs first Pride Week, with the goal of educating and informing students of the struggles and successes of the LGBTQ community at U of T and the world.

Display boards were set up in the CCT and South Buildings, showcasing 40 years of LGBTQ activity at all three U of T campuses. Along with information, OUT@UTM also provided passersby with free Positive Space buttons and stickers, condoms, dental dams as well as lollipops with Happy Pride tags.

Some of the many Pride events that took place during the week included the raising of the Pride flag at the Student Centre, screenings of X-Men 3 and Brown Like Me, and BOGL (Big Ol Gay Lunch) held in the green room of the Student Centre. Students of
all orientations, whether LGBTQ identified or allies, were welcomed to join in any and all events hosted by OUT@UTM.

OUT@UTM remains […] the largest gathering of Queer Youth. Luckily, this year queer issues have been acknowledged and with the addition of a new position, LGBTQ Coordinator at UTMSU, these issues now have the support to be addressed, said Kumari Giles, an OUT@UTM executive.

This is a huge step in bringing LGBTQ inclusivity onto the UTM campus and making LGBTQ individuals feel safe and welcome.

Raffle tickets were sold at two for $1 all week. Prizes included a basket of Body Shop goodies worth over $100, a $50 gift card to Square One and a $25 gift card to The Stag Shop. Stag Shop goodie bags were also awarded to those individuals who participated in a game to guess the right amount of condoms in a

All prizes and events were sponsored by Tart, The Glad Bookstore, The Stag Shop and UTMSU. Along with raffle tickets, OUT@UTM also took donations for the Haiti Coalition.

A discussion about religion and homosexuality was held on January 20. Guest speakers El Farouk and Darren Edgar addressed the how and where in the intersection of religion and homosexuality.

The following day, a demonstration for gay rights took place on the five-minute walk between North Building and the Student Centre. Members of OUT@UTM and their allies bound and gagged themselves, and held signs with the words, I am silenced due to Ugandas Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Next, they handed out flyers indicating the countries in which the death sentence is the response for homosexuality.
Later that day, students from OUT@UTM and their allies joined together in a candle-light vigil in remembrance of LGBTQ-identified persons who have faced oppression and violence.

With signs stating In memorial of LGBTQ individuals and allies who have struggled and faced oppression, and lit candles, students walked from the North Building to the South Building.

The first ever Pride Parade was held on January 22. Over 20 OUT@UTM members and allies marched from North Building to South Building carrying Pride flags, signs promoting love and equality, and cheered and chanted UTM has what? Pride!

Pride for me, started as a celebration of LGBTQ culture and diversity. Though upon learning of the history, Ive come to realize that Pride is a protest, said Giles. It has brought

to light many LGBTQ issues and brought us to where we are today, with the legalization of same sex marriage. So now, Pride is a celebration of who we are, how far we’ve gotten and a push for acceptance in the future.

Closing ceremonies were held the same day in the green room of the Student Centre. Students were invited to join in friendly conversation, games and to enjoy food and drink. Raffle winners were drawn and prizes were awarded.

With few problems, the OUT@UTM team remained optimistic and UTMs first ever Pride Week was a success. The LGBTQ community at U of T has gained yet another achievement with Pride Week at UTM, with the hopes of many more to come.

The turn out this week was great we had a bunch of students come out to events that otherwise would never have attended. I am proud to say that we have reached students, because after all it really is about making student life on campus better and addressing the issues of students, said Giles. This week has been a monumental week in LGBTQ history at UTM and to those that participated, they should acknowledge their
roles in the future of LGBTQ life
on campus.

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