For the past 9 years, the TRUSU Equity Committee has hosted the annual TRUSU Pride Parade to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, and to publicly claim Thompson Rivers University as a safe and welcoming place for everyone no matter your sexual orientation or gender identity. While COVID has changed much in our lives this year, the need is stronger than ever to affirm and welcome new and returning LGBTQ+ community members to campus, celebrate our successes in overcoming discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, and commit ourselves to working to improve campus for the LGBTQ+ community.

To meet this need, over the past few weeks the TRUSU Equity Committee has gathered community submissions about what celebrating and supporting Pride looks like when many of us are at home. We’re happy to showcase those contributions, describe why Pride matters, and provide connections to LGBTQ+ campus resources and more information on this page.

Message from TRU President Brett Fairbairn

Community Submissions

“For me, Pride has always been about seeking justice. Birthed from the Stonewall Riots in New York, Pride Parades started as anti-police demonstrations, and this origin serves as the backbone for what Pride represents to me. Trans-identifying folks continue to face disproportionately large instances of discrimination and violence compared to others. Structures within our government and legal systems continue to perpetuate anti-LGBTQ2S+ ideas. For example, conversion therapy remains legal in many parts of the country. As the intersectional nature of identity becomes more intertwined with the LGBTQ2S+-conversations, we will also tackle the LBGTQ2S+ community’s issues whose identities overlap with other marginalized groups (like BIPOC). Furthermore, corporations and businesses need to commit to inclusivity within every facet of their organization: their practices, physical infrastructure, and services. These topics are all things we will continue to address, not just within our communities, but across Canada and even internationally.

I think Pride is a beautiful time to celebrate the progress so far. I’ve witnessed some of the most vibrant and powerful demonstrations of humanity at these celebrations, from proposals to families supporting their loved ones. At the same time, I want to feel this way throughout the year, regardless of where I am. I think that’s the true beauty of Pride; it inspires people to seek justice.”

 

 

Why does Pride @ Home Matter?

At its core, Pride is fundamentally about working towards justice, equity, and respect for every member of the LGBTQ+ community. Every day Queer people are subjected to discrimination and unequal treatment, both large and small, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. While the societal conditions for homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of Queer oppression didn’t originate on TRU’s campus, we all bring that societal baggage to campus every day. We are all shaped by a society deeply rooted in intersecting racism, misogyny, classism, ableism, and Queer oppression. While the modern history of Pride might have started in the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, these issues didn’t start or end at that place or in that time. The acute pain of injustice has gone on for a long time and we should take the time to respect our Queer ancestors and their allies who fought so hard to get us to where we are today.

Pride is also about celebrating the progress we have made towards full equality and acceptance for LGBTQ+ people. Campus community members shared they have hope that we can make things better, because in many instances we have already seen that progress in the past. Equality under the law has made significant steps forward with marriage equality, recognizing Trans identities as protected under human rights codes, the ability for LGBTQ+ families to adopt children, protections against housing and employment discrimination, and other legal victories. The social acceptance and inclusion of LGBTQ+ people has also improved in recent years, with Queer stories and representation in the arts and mainstream media, Prime Ministers and governments celebrating Pride, and more LGBTQ+ people being out in public and living their lives authentically without fear.

Pride is also about committing ourselves to action to solve the many discriminatory barriers that LGBTQ+ people still face in our society. We still live in a country that bans men who have sex with men from donating blood based on their identity and not their behavior. We study and work on a campus where Egale Canada’s data shows that the majority of Trans students experience some form of physical, sexualized, verbal, and/or emotional violence. Indigenous, Two-Spirit, and Queer people of colour are far more likely to be murdered or go missing than white people. Many LGBTQ+ people are afraid to hold their partners hand and be visibly Queer in Kamloops because of social stigma and threats to physical safety. There is a lot of work that remains to be done to achieve full equality and acceptance for all LGBTQ+ people.

Participating in Pride highlights the many ways that we can all take this action to make things better. We can demand that our governments and institutions take LGBTQ+ equity seriously and elect politicians and leaders who are committed to this work. We can educate ourselves about the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community so that we are prepared to treat everyone with respect when we interact with them. We can build community and inclusion with our Queer classmates, colleagues, co-workers, neighbours, friends, and family. We can take some time to ensure that all the activities we do are welcoming for LGBTQ+ folks. We cannot participate in homophobic, Transphobic, or other discriminatory jokes or put downs, We can intervene when we see our friends and family mistreating LGBTQ+ people and get them to stop. There are many opportunities both large and small for us all to take action and help make our community better for everyone!

Where can you get help with LGBTQ+ equity issues?

 We have some fantastic community organizations and resources to help you get involved in LGBTQ+ equity. If you’re looking for community-focused activities, both social activities and political work, check out the amazing folks at Kamloops Pride. They host a variety of activities throughout the year including the annual Kamloops Pride Parade in August. They’re a great place to start with any questions because if they can’t answer you, they probably can refer you to the place that can. If you’re looking for campus focused social activities, check out the TRUSU Pride Club. This student group hosts a variety of social and community-building activities throughout the year including regular socials. A very casual, welcoming place to meet new people. And lastly, if you’re looking for campus focused political work, then please contact us at the TRUSU Equity Committee to get involved! We work to raise awareness of the systemic oppression of marginalized groups in society and to challenge that oppression where possible. We usually focus on Indigenous, LGBTQ+, women, racialized, folks with disabilities, and socio-economic equity. If you’re interested in projects like Pride @ Home, please reach out.

Thanks for participating!

Thank you to everyone who participated in Pride @ Home this year! While it’s definitely a weird time, we here at the TRUSU Equity Committee are so proud to be a part of a campus community who pulls together during times of hardship. We hope these messages from fellow students, faculty, and staff have shown that none of us are in this alone and that the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community is an important part of what makes TRU an amazing place to be. Hope to see everyone next September for the 10th Annual TRUSU Pride Parade in person!

Contact for more Information

Mackenzie Francoeur
Vice President Equity
250.828.5289
m.francoeur@trusu.ca
Dylan Robinson
Equity Coordinator
250.828.5289
equity@trusu.ca