Dal Pride earns national recognition

Students, faculty and staff take part in Halifax's Pride Parade

- July 27, 2011

Dal students Jeremy Dutcher and Julianne Suleski taking part in the Halifax Pride Parade
Dal students Jeremy Dutcher and Julianne Suleski taking part in the Halifax Pride Parade

For the 24th annual Halifax Pride Parade, Dalhousie was well represented by its various LGBTQ organizations, as well as rainbow community members and allies outside of those groups.

In fact, Dalhousie’s commitment to celebrating diversity has been so successful over the past few years that the university received the honour of carrying Ottawa’s Pride flag in this year’s parade. The 30 by 60-foot rainbow flag allowed Dalhousie to “represent Allies from across Canada,” says first-time parade entry coordinator Sarah-Jo Briand.

Inclusive community

Ms. Briand is also a member of Allies at Dalhousie, a group that not only participates in Pride festivities, but also provides support for Dal’s LGBTQ community all year round. The Allies formed in 2002 and strive to offer a positive environment for LGBTQ students, as well as awareness and education of LGBTQ issues to everyone on campus.

See also: Showing our Pride (photo essay)

Allies at Dalhousie member and Dal Harassment Prevention Officer Gaye Wishart explains that, “the number one goal of Allies is the messaging of a welcome, inclusive campus community with supports in place for LGBTQ students and those who may be questioning their sexual orientation and/or their gender identity or expression.”
Fellow Ally Clement Mehlman is happy to see the Allies group, “evolve [into] an ever-widening association of staff and faculty who seek to right the wrongs that have happened and still happen to LGBTQ youth.” Ms. Wishart adds that “homophobic bullying remains a societal issue with serious consequences.”

Allies at Dalhousie have also offered a Peer Ally position for the past five years. Current Peer Ally Laura MacIntosh is a social work student who provides one-on-one support for individual students as well as campus-wide education on LGBTQ issues.

Something for everyone

Other rainbow community supportive groups at Dalhousie include Centre of Hope, The Dalhousie Women’s Centre, Humans Against Homophobia, Outlaw (The Queer Legal Students Association), The Rainbow Project of NSPIRG, and DalOUT (The Queer Society at Dalhousie University). CKDU radio also offers Queer News every Friday at 12:05 pm.

DalOUT has been making an active effort to increase off-campus involvement, expanding to become not only a student society, but also an important part of Halifax’s rainbow community. Each year, DalOUT uses its annual events, such as Come Out at the Grawood and the interactive screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show, to donate a portion of proceeds to a local organization that strives to benefit the LGBTQ community. Most recently, DalOUT has sponsored a locally-produced short film titled “Deep End” that deals with issues of coming out. DalOUT Executive Advisor Justin LeBlanc says, “[‘Deep End’] definitely relates directly to the work that [DalOUT] does,” adding that he hopes to use the film for education purposes.

Better together

The Pride Parade was the perfect event to bring members of all campus LGBTQ groups together along with other members of the rainbow community and allies. Commenting on the parade’s theme “Better Together,” Ms. Briand says, “Dalhousie is such a diverse community […] and this slogan really encompasses […] the way Dal functions best.”

Anyone who wishes to become an Ally at Dalhousie can contact dalally@dal.ca. Dal’s Peer Ally can be contacted at peerally@dal.ca. Contact info and websites for all of the LGBTQ groups mentioned in this article can be found at http://studentservices.dal.ca/interests/lgbtq.html. More info on “Deep End,” sponsored by DalOUT, can be found at

Photo essay: Showing our Pride


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