To help celebrate the inaugural Dalhousie Pride Week, Dal News is sharing a series of perspectives on Pride from across the university community.
Name: Michael Davies-Cole
Where are you from: Born in New Glasgow, have lived in several places around Canada and now live in Halifax.
What do you do at Dal: Second-year Law student, and have also completed an honours degree in Sociology.
What does Pride mean to you?
Pride means a lot to me. It has cost so many so much for people to be able to express themselves and be who they really are. We still have a ways to go, but humanity always will — it is the nature of evolution. We’re never really finished, always learning, always growing.
Can you share experiences or memories that stand out from past Pride events?
I have been involved with Halifax Pride in the past as Chair/Co-chair and in other positions. One the best memories I have is the year attendance went from 500 to 5,000. That was really something to see coming down the street towards me at Sackville landing. My first thought was, “Wow.” My second thought was, “Where are we going to put them all?”
Dal is hosting its own Pride Week for the first time. What are your thoughts on this?
I am glad they are having one but what concerns me is the institutionalization of checkboxes. It is too easy for a large entity such as Dalhousie to look over the year and go, “Pow wow, check, Pride, check, Black history month, check,” etc. What is needed is a clear commitment to uphold values that will respect marginalized people the whole year. There are students at Dal all year round and we don't simply put away our colour, religion, sexual orientation or gender just because it is not our week or month. So while I think Dalhousie having Pride Week is great, I will wait and see if it turns into just another checkbox or works towards enhancing students’ time here all year round.
How are you celebrating and participating in Dalhousie Pride Week, Halifax Pride Week and/or Truro Pride this year?
I am speaking on BIPOC (Black Indigenous and People of Colour) issues at some events during the week. Not sure my week is a celebration — I feel Queer people have the right to celebrate who they are every day not, just certain ones.
Why is it important for LGBTQ+ -identified people and LGBTQ+ allies to support and participate in Pride Week?
Strength in numbers has always been a winning combination. We need to learn from one another. I do not think anyone has to go to any specific event but if this is the only time you think of what the community is about then it is a step towards understanding. Get informed.
What makes Pride Week different or special this year?
Pride is special every year and having pride is something that should be special everyday. This year the awareness of further marginalization within the Queer community itself is very much at the forefront and it is a good time for people to actively engage in what it means to be a queer POC (person of colour).
Learn more about Dalhousie Pride Week at dal.ca/showyourpride.
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