filling a void
Preparing for the maiden voyage of the Student Pride Conference
Students from the Brock University Pride Club are gearing up for their biggest undertaking ever.
In early March the club will be organizing the maiden voyage of the Student Price Conference.
“We’ve got two full days jam packed with speakers and seminars and vendors,” said Brock Pride president Aimee Wright.
The conference aims to bring together LGBT students and allies from universities, colleges and high schools from across the Niagara region and beyond.
“Compared to big urban centres like Toronto and Montreal, the queer community in the Niagara area is pretty small, and they can sometimes feel like they don’t have access to the kinds of pride events found in the bigger cities,” said Wright, who noted the club has had calls from pride clubs across the province looking to get involved.
“As far as we can tell, there’s nothing like this in the area and no one has even tried it before, so we’re hoping the Student Pride Conference can step in and fill that void,” she added.
The conference will be headlined by two keynote speakers: Elisha Lim and Vivek Shraya.
Lim is a comic book artist and author of the new book 100 Butches, and Shraya is a multimedia artist whose new work, God Loves Hair, is a collection of short stories about gender politics and queer theory.
A new documentary, Put This on the Map - Reteaching Gender & Sexuality, will also be screened at the conference.
“There are still a few things up the air that need to come together,” said the pride club’s VP of admin, Brandon Vrysen. “We’re a bit nervous because it’s our first go at this, but we’ve got a three-year plan and hope to take the conference around to different school’s each year,” he added.
There will also be a wide range of seminar topics for attendees to check out, including: coming out at university, online dating, LGBT teens in the media, sexual health, relationships, bullying and perhaps most notably, a discussion about religion and the queer community.
“It’s not going to be preachy or judgemental,” said Wright. “It’s an opportunity to have an open discussion between the queer community and the religious community, and we’re hoping it will help some students get what they need out of religion, and help them face some of their religious issues,” she added.
The religion seminar will be conducted by Brock’s campus minister, Dr. Andre Basson, who will speak about homosexuality from a religious perspective and field questions about the nature of the relationship between the church and the queer community.
After two days of seminars and key note speakers, the conference will close out with Brock’s annual Pride Dance, an all ages soiree hosted at the campus bar.
The organizers also stressed that the conference is not just for the LGBT community; gay, straight, questioning and everything in between, the Student Pride Conference they say is going to be a great place for anyone with an open mind to come and learn and broaden their horizons.
The Brock Pride club is still looking for volunteers and donations to help with the conference, which runs March 9 and 10 at the Brock University campus.
“To put it another way, we’re flat broke now actually,” laughed Cameron Alderdice, Brock Pride’s VP of finance.
If you’d like to get involved as a volunteer, register for the event, or make a donation, visit the club’s website at brockpride.ca or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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