Parade boasts awareness

(Photo by Nick Lachance)

For the first time ever, the Rainbow Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University, as part of Queer Awareness Week (QAW), which ran during the first week of October, hosted a Pride Parade on campus on Oct. 4 to promote queer awareness.

By sporting colourful clothing, waving flags and banners and cheering enthusiastically, a group of about 50 students marched around campus and through the buildings to spread awareness about the queer community.

“It was pretty good, I’m glad it was such a success,” said Jessica Mennen, a third-year English and psychology student.

Mennen is also the events and discussions co-ordinator at the Rainbow Centre.

“We were glad to have a bunch of groups to come out and support us and join us in our march,” she continued.

The parade began in the Quad and then moved into the Fred Nichols Campus Centre.

It went all the way across campus to the Science Building, and then finished back in the Quad.

Along with the other events occurring during QAW, the goal for the parade was to ensure that Laurier students know about the queer community, not just at Laurier, but locally, nationally and globally.

“It’s just about making Laurier students aware of queer people and queer issues, the history and all of that,” explained Christopher Owen, a fourth-year English student and the administrator for the Rainbow Centre.

In addition to the events held during QAW, Owen and Mennen mentioned that the Rainbow Centre has many other events in the works throughout the year, notably the Drag Show that is held every November in the Turret.

When asked if homophobia is still a challenge on Laurier’s campus, Owen responded by saying that his experience at the university has been relatively positive.

“From my experience at Laurier — I’m in my fourth-year now — we haven’t really had very many reported incidents of homophobia,” Owen explained.

“The homophobia that exists here, are the minor things, like people saying things such as ‘that’s so gay’ which is actually really hurtful and offensive, and it’s things like that.”

He added that misuse of language is what needs to be filtered out on campus, but Laurier is a very accepting place.

“I’m really happy with Laurier,” he added.

But as QAW came to a close, both Owen and Mennen wanted to express their gratitude to all those who supported them and the events — something Owen hopes to see increase as time goes on.

“Thank-you for being a school that I could out in, a school I could be proud in, and a school that I could really be myself at. As well, thank-you for the huge support that we got today and the huge support that we’ll get to see the rest of the year,” Owen continued.

“And I’m really excited to see the rest of the year.”

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