To help celebrate the inaugural Dalhousie Pride Week, Dal News is sharing a series of perspectives on Pride from across the university community.
Name: Lindsey Gillard
Where are you from: Bedford, Nova Scotia
What do you do at Dal: Master’s student (Aquaculture) at the Agricultural Campus, working with Dr. Sarah Stewart-Clark and Dr. Jim Duston.
What does Pride mean to you?
Pride to me means that freedom to love and be myself. It means accepting yourself as well as others. It is when you feel who you really are and opens you up to loving and understanding everyone else. Pride has always been more than LGBTQ+ pride to me. We should all feel pride. Pride in ourselves, our families, our loves ones and the communities we live in.
Can you share experiences or memories that stand out from past Pride events?
I can remember the first parade I saw on TV and the first one I saw in person, which ultimately built up to the first one I ever marched in. I remember when my mother-in-law and sister-in-law came with my wife and I. This was probably four years ago now. I can remember (my wife’s) sister saying, “Well I hadn’t planned on going because I am not gay, but have fun!” We were like, who cares?! You’re you, you are heterosexual, you can be proud about that for the same reasons we can be proud to be gay. Equality. And if equality doesn’t make you feel pride, then we don’t know what to tell you! Of course she came, but was worried she was unwelcome due to her heterosexuality. I think on that day she felt pride too; pride for herself, her sister, her sister-in-law, the community — and definitely when she realized that in no way was the parade an “exclusive event.” Because after all, how could it be Pride if we discounted members of the community?
Dal is hosting its own Pride Week for the first time. What are your thoughts on this?
I think this is wonderful. Each community participates in Pride in their own way. Dal is a very large and close-knit community; it only makes sense that we would host our own Pride Week! We progress each year, and even when we think this is as far as we can go, we push it further. I am thankful that Dal supports the LGBTQ+ members of this community and continues to provide a safe forum to celebrate and be free.
How are you celebrating and participating in Dalhousie Pride Week, Halifax Pride Week and/or Truro Pride this year?
This year I will be walking in Truro’s first ever Pride Parade. Normally, I would participate in the Halifax Parade, but this is a truly big milestone for Truro and I cannot wait to be there to represent my campus and my fellow LBGTQ+ community membes. I will be celebrating with my peers, my wife and my family. There is no better way to respect and show love than to be around those you love!
Why is it important for LGBTQ+ -identified people and LGBTQ+ allies to support and participate in Pride Week?
It is so important. The Ally network here needs to grow. Some people say to me, well I already am an Ally, it is just not in writing. PUT IT IN WRITING! Sign up! Struggling members of our society dealing with LBGTQ+ issues cannot look at someone and think, “Well, they are gay so they must be an ally.” We need to be seen, and to display our safeness around town. I first came out, terrified and 14, to an ally at my junior high school. My assumption at the time was that those who were not “Allies” were therefore not allies. This is wholly untrue, but often how it is perceived. Allies are invaluable. And sure, while some might support LBGTQ+ rights, change their Facebook filters and post about Orlando and marriage equality, we need those willing to take the time to sign up and display the logo and announce that they are a safe person and create a safe space. It is the most active way possible to lead by example and the community needs the leadership.
What makes Pride Week different or special this year?
It is different and special because it is in Truro! This is a remarkable event for this town and I feel most residents are sighing and saying, “About time!” This is huge.
Learn more about Dalhousie Pride Week at dal.ca/showyourpride.
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