Laurier’s Rainbow Centre puts on open mic in support of Trans* Awareness Week

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(Photo by Heather Davidson)

Little Bean Café, located in downtown Kitchener, was the home to the Wilfrid Laurier University’s Rainbow Centre’s Rainbow Voices Open Mic Night on November 14. Rainbow Voices was one of the first major events put on by the recently created Rainbow Centre Outreach team.

“The goal of the event was to bring the LGBTQ community and Laurier together for an open space by an open mic but also bring the organizations that are working in the community together. We had them come up and give statements of what they’re doing in the community so that they people in attendance would be able to know how to access these programs,” said Emily Arden, marketing and outreach coordinator at the Rainbow Centre.

The outreach team was first formulated in fall semester of 2012. Originally it began as just a blog which featured original content but quickly expanded. This year, Arden spearheaded team to do events that specifically promote the Rainbow Centre. Arden noted that while they have many events to promote LGBTQ events, there are no events targeting the Rainbow centre itself.

The open mic night, which was a self-described blend between coffee house and open mic night, also served as a promotional event for Trans* Awareness Week which lasts from November 20 to November 26.

The week kicked off with a solemn vigil in Uptown Waterloo Square in honour of International Transgender Day of Remembrance on Wednesday November 20. On Thursday November 21, the Rainbow Centre will be holding a discussion in Mac House on “Transgender and Here Stories” at 7:30 p.m.

There were not a lot of acts performing on Thursday, but it was certainly quality over quantity in terms of talent. The talent was also diverse from a flute solo by Nephanee Rose to a poetry reading, in fluent Spanish, by Vasily Esteban Burhring Silva.

“I think it was rather successful. I was surprised at the turn out actually. We also put up posters in the community as well which I think helped a lot. I think we would want more performers in the future but overall the audience reception was pretty good,” contemplated Arden on the success of the open mic night.

“It was a good mix of really deep stuff and then funny stuff. It was a great counter balance.”

Despite the great success of their event, there are currently no plans for an upcoming event.

“We’re definitely very active and want to get more events. It’s just coming up with an idea and right now everyone is in exams and finals mode so we don’t have anything on the go right now,” said Mara Hoevelmann, a general member and emcee of the night.

“We plan to discuss that next semester,” finished Arden.

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