Celebrating Pride in our comm(unity)

Pride Week celebrations to include a mix of in-person and virtual events for all


 

Mount Royal is proud to once again be partnering with Calgary Pride for the annual Calgary Pride Parade and Festival.

This will be Mount Royal’s ninth consecutive year of participation and first year as a gold sponsor. With inclusivity at the core of Mount Royal’s identity, taking part in Pride is an opportunity to highlight, support and continue efforts to provide a welcoming and diverse campus community.

Em Isaak, an ecotourism and outdoor leadership student in their final year at MRU, sees the University’s participation in Pride as an important act of solidarity.

“There are so many students who are part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community at MRU. Participating in Pride is one of the many steps that MRU can take in order to make queer students feel comfortable and supported.”

The last time Isaak attended the Pride Parade — a key piece of Pride Week that will be held virtually this year — they walked with the Mount Royal contingent. Isaak’s family also joined, all wearing MRU-branded sweaters.

“My mom was wearing her hoodie and I had enough hoodies for my siblings to wear too,” Isaak remembers. “Getting to celebrate together was really amazing.”

For Chris Rogerson, executive director of Student Affairs at Mount Royal, the meaning of Pride is deep and complex.

“On the one hand, Pride is about living life authentically and celebrating individuality and love. However, Pride is also a time to honour the courage and actions of the many individuals, then and now, who used their voices and presence to demand change for equality and human rights,” he says.

“We must never forget that Pride stems from the courage and determination of individuals who rose up against the oppression and harm being caused in their community.”

While there’s been much positive change over the years, Rogerson notes that there is still work to be done to “fully realize a society where everyone is truly accepted for who they are.” Looking forward, Mount Royal is in a strong position to continue supporting this objective.

“One of the key drivers for change throughout history has been education, so it’s important for MRU to continue creating welcoming and safe spaces for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to live and learn,” he says.

2SLGBTQIA+ supports at Mount Royal

On-campus supports include the Student’s Association of Mount Royal’s (SAMRU) Pride Centre, a space dedicated to fostering a safe, inclusive and celebratory environment for people of all genders and sexual orientations. The Pride Centre offers a range of student services and hosts events and programs with a focus on education and awareness.

MRU’s Pride Scholarship supports students who show leadership in the Pride community. This award is given to a full-time second- or third-year student based on academic achievement and contributions to creating more inclusive spaces for people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

For those who are struggling or may simply need someone to talk to, counselling services are available through Wellness Services.

How to celebrate Calgary Pride

There are many ways to get involved in this year’s B!G Pride Festival. The festival runs from Aug. 27 to Sept. 5 with a mix of in-person and virtual programming in celebration of gender and sexual diversity.

The 2021 events includes the #ProudPartners panel series, drive-in movies and performances, and a virtual conversation with Manvendra Singh Gohil, Prince of Rajpipla, India — the world’s first openly gay member of royalty.

Whenever possible, programming will be simultaneously streamed online at calgarypride.ca/live. Official Calgary Pride events are free to attend. Donations are welcomed.

Additional information on Calgary Pride, including information on the history of Pride and a full listing of festival events, can be found on their website or through the official Calgary Pride app.

Throughout Pride Week from Aug. 27 to Sept. 5, SAMRU will be offering several events for the campus community. More information can also be found on the MRU Facebook Pride event page.

Aug. 18, 2021 — Rachel von Hahn

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