Celebrate! Keele raises the Pride flag on Monday

Show your pride and support. The Pride flags will be raised at York’s Keele campus on Monday, June 20 and at Glendon campus on Tuesday, June 28 to kick-start Pride 2011 celebrations across the University.

The Keele campus ceremony will take place at 12pm in Vari Hall. President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri will speak at the event and the cutting of the Pride cake, along with other refreshments, will follow. The second flag-raising ceremony will take place at 3pm on Tuesday, June 28 at Glendon’s main flagpole.

“Having the Pride flag fly at the top of the flagpole for one week is a very meaningful symbol for the LGBTT2SIQQA community at York,” says Aaron Doupe, pride coordinator.

This year’s pride activities are a pan-University effort, organized by the Centre for Human Rights, SexGen York, the York Federation of Students (YFS), Trans Bisexual Lesbian Gays Allies at York (TBLGAY) and University Relations to celebrate York U’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, 2 Spirited, Intersex, Queer, Questioning and Allies (LGBTT2SIQQA) community and the University’s commitment to the full inclusion of individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

In addition to the on-campus activities, YFS and TBLGAY will sponsor an information kiosk at the Pride Toronto Community Fair & Marketplace in downtown Toronto from 11am to 5pm on Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3. It will feature artists work from the Art Gallery of York University as well as information and giveaways from YFS, TBLGAY, Student Recruitment, Sexuality Studies, HR Recruitment and many other campus partners. Pride Toronto will run from June 25 to July 4.

YFS, TBLGAY and allies will be marching in the third annual Trans March on July 1 in Toronto to help create action and momentum around issues facing queer and trans communities today. TBLGAY and YFS have also organized a float for the Pride Parade in Toronto on Sunday, July 3.

In conjunction with the Art Gallery of York University, the theme of this year’s float will be We Demand Redux in recognition of the 40th anniversary of The We Demand March on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The march was one of the first actions in the queer rights movement which was comprised of 150 men and women with a list of 10 demands for amendments to the Canadian constitution on items related to sexuality.

T-shirts and placards for the parade will have a blank space for participants to express their own demands for queer and trans communities. There will also be a banner and sign making party on June 24, from 11am to 5pm in the TBLGAY Office, 449 in the Student Centre, for anyone interested in participating. In addition, TBLGAY will have a ballot box available at their booth at the Pride Community Fair leading up to the Pride Parade as a way for participants to voice their own demands for the queer and trans community.

All York community members are welcome to join in. Those interested in participating in the Trans March should meet at the corner of Church and Hayden Streets, just look for the TBLGAY banner. For more information, contact Randy McLin at rmclin@yorku.ca.

“These events provide a chance for volunteers to reach out to current faculty, students and staff, as well as future students and alumni, while promoting the inclusive values of York to the one million visitors that the Pride festival attracts each year,” says Doupe. Noël Badiou, director with the Centre for Human Rights agrees and adds that “the coordination and cooperation amongst students, faculty and staff for York U Pride is another great example of how York is an engaged university. These partnerships help build meaningful and lasting relationships that translate into a larger sense of community and pride in our richly diverse University.”

Pride activities were made possible through support of students, Faculties, University Relations, the Alumni Office, Centre for Human Rights and the York community.

For more information about York’s Pride activities, visit the SexGen York Committee website.