For the second year in a row, Dalhousie will celebrate its diverse community during Dalhousie Pride Week.
The week, which kicks off with flag raisings in both Halifax and Truro on Friday, July 21 and continues through July 30, features events organized by individuals and groups from across the university. Human Rights & Equity Services, along with various centres, services, departments, offices and programs on campus and in the surrounding Halifax and Truro areas, will offer a wide range of events that focus on both education and celebration of LGBTQ2SIA+ communities.
“Pride Week is important and meaningful occasion — a reminder of the ongoing movement to a make our communities more welcoming, safe and inclusive for the diverse individuals who identify as LGBTQ2SIA+*,” says Arig al Shaibah, vice-provost student affairs and executive director (acting) of Human Rights and Equity Services.
“It’s part of a larger conversation about how we — both individually and collectively — foster understanding, respect and acceptance among all of us to truly create a diverse, inclusive and equitable campus community.”
*Want to learn more about the acronym? Read our explainer below.
Flag raisings, parades and more
Dalhousie Pride Week begins with two flag raising ceremonies on Friday, July 21. The Halifax ceremony, presented by the DSU and Dalhousie, takes place at 11 a.m. in the Studley Quad. The ceremony in Truro follows at 12 p.m. and will take place in the Agricultural Campus amphitheatre. All are welcome to attend
The university is also once again taking part in community pride parades in both Halifax and Truro, and all are welcome to join and march.
The Halifax Pride Parade takes place on Saturday, July 22. Those wanting to participate can meet the Dal contingent at 12 p.m. in the parking lot at the DND dockyard (where the parade route starts). You can also join the Dal cheering section in front of the Architecture Building (5410 Spring Garden Road, next to the Halifax Central Library). T-shirts will be provided in both locations (limited numbers available), with free freezies and button making at the Cheering section. The parade itself starts at 1 p.m.
Truro's Pride Parade takes place one week later, on Saturday, July 29. The Dal AC contingent will meet at 1:15 p.m. at the Truro Stadium on Lorne Street. The parade itself begins at 2 p.m.
Other events happening as part of Dalhousie Pride Week include two lunch-and-learns on health topics; a family-friendly picnic hosted by South House; an afternoon of art and history on the Ag Campus and, also in Truro, a film screening of Queens and Cowboys, which documents a complete season of the International Gay Rodeo Association.
For full details on all events, visit dal.ca/showyourpride
Celebrating Pride means celebrating individuals’ different sexual and gender identities in the face of ongoing discrimination and violence. An important part of that process is ensuring that those who have been excluded in the past feel represented now and in the future.
By choosing to use the acronym LGBTQ2SIA+ for Dalhousie Pride Week this year, the university and the various groups involved in the week’s events with are affirming the importance of valuing those different identities and creating more space in the community for all.
“Some people think, ‘Well, it’s just a bunch of letters and that’s not a really important thing.’ But if you think about that within a representative context and a person who has felt invisible or erased within a space that is supposed to be there’s, then seeing yourself represented in an acronym is actually deeply important,” says Carmella Farahbakhsh, volunteer and education coordinator at South House, the Halifax sexual and gender resource centre funded by Dal and King's students.
Many will be familiar with the first five letters in the acronym — which stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer — but perhaps less so the others. They are:
2S (two-spirit): A term used by Indigenous people to describe from a cultural perspective people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, or intersex.
I (intersex): A term used to describe a person born with reproductive systems, chromosomes and/or hormones that are not easily characterized as male or female.
A (asexual): A sexual orientation where a person experiences little or no sexual attraction.*
Additionally, the “+” recognizes individual or groups who do not identify with the other terms, but who have gender identities or sexual orientations that differ from the heterosexual and cisgender majority.
Farahbakhsh, who identifies as a queer, non-binary trans person, says the community is still in the midst of a rapid shift and the conversation will continue to change going forward.
"The LGBTQ2SIA+ community will always be growing and changing and will strive towards a liberation that creates and holds space for all."
* Definitions borrowed from the City of Toronto advocacy agency The 519
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