By Miranda Clayton
I recently took a trip to the Canadian Museum of History. In the Modern Canada section there was a display on human rights progress where I found myself confronted by how recent the past is. LGBTQ+ rights became included in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1995. Same sex marriage became legalized in 2005. I would say most Canadians see these rights as a obvious and integral part of society now but the truth is I will die with rights I was not born with despite only being 25 years old.
Society is safer but not safe. Society is more accepting but LGBTQ+ people are not accepted. You can buy pride themed decorations at Party City but to love and exist as an LGBTQ+ person is still to risk marginalization, abandonment and death at the hands of a society that was never built to include you. We have come so far and we still have far to go. These are sobering thoughts but do not despair. We as LGBTQ+ people are still here and still fighting. Our fight became MSU sanctioned with the GLBT Centre in 1997 but the fight has transformed and so have we. We spent the past decade as the QSCC but again, things changed. Recent history has blessed the student body with identity-based peer support services so we are no longer alone in our struggle to provide space for marginalized students. With this change we critically evaluated our place in peer support and what we could do to be better. This is how we became the Pride Community Centre.
Last year we asked what we could to improve and 111 of you responded. You want a space where the diversity of our community is valued and appreciated. You want a space where your identity is seen and recognized. You want a place to relax, a place to learn, a place to meet and a place to grow. We heard you and we are adjusting to be this place. As a service we are older but here on out we will be bolder. A space renovation, support groups, more community events, updated volunteer training, more off campus connections, and intersection focused programming are all in various stages of happening.
We're open in MUSC 219/221! Pop by between 9:30 and 4:30 Monday to Friday to access our LGBTQ2SI+ safe(r) space. Grab some stickers, meet some new people, access support, and generally chill. We can't wait to meet you! #McSU pic.twitter.com/l3EAS2xhOm
— MSU Pride Community Centre (@msu_pride) September 17, 2018
This is a new era for the service and thankfully it is happening now and not a minute later. These are trying times for a lot of community members in the current political climate. Hate crimes haven’t gone anywhere and pride crosswalks will only get us so far. Remember you have a voice and can use it. Remember your voice is stronger with many others. Remember you are not alone in this and you have friends in MUSC 219-221 waiting for you.
We hope to see you there.