The annual UTMSU Pride Week was back with a variety of events last week on campus.
During Pride Week, themed “My Pride is Political”, the main issues discussed were problems of exclusion and a lack of understanding of LGBTQ* concerns among the public and even the LGBTQ* community.
The concerns raised were about the misconceptions about labels, including bisexual, transsexual, and polysexual, and a lack of inclusion of LGBTQ* members in public spheres such as social media and education. Discussions of these issues produced many options for addressing them.
Many LGBTQ* members of UTM and their allies attended the events throughout the week.
The Polysexual and Polyamorous Myths and Mingle on Tuesday was a presentation to inform students about polysexuality, or attraction to multiple genders, and polyamory, having multiple relationships with the consent of all parties. Neither polysexuality nor polyamory is to be confused with polygamy, the actual marriage of more than two partners. The discussion included how to make polysexuals feel accepted by the LGBTQ* community.
Thursday’s Trans* 101 Workshop was an open discussion on what it means to be a transsexual. The group discussion concerned inclusion and the establishment of trans washrooms and housing on campus and in public spaces.
Transphobia was addressed as well and ways to curb it were suggested, including holding workshops and discussions.
Also discussed was the option of enforcing the use of “preferred pronouns”, i.e. whichever pronoun a person would like to be called by in relation to their gender.
The Queer People of Colour discussion concerned how people of colour stand within the LGBTQ* community. While the week’s other events were open to all UTM students, the QPOC was restricted to those who identified as a queer or trans* person of colour.
There were also social events at which members of the LGBTQ* community mingled with their peers in a safe environment.
These included the Queer Coffee House on Friday, intended to be a night of fun and relaxation open to members of the LGBTQ* community and those outside it. It featured poetry, theatre, and music performances, and raised funds for the East Mississauga Community Health Centre QX Program.
The other social events were Ace’s Casino Night and the Convo Café.
UTMSU’s LGBTQ coordinator Miranda Jurilj did not respond to requests for comment.