Whether you’re a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community or an ally, pride centres are a great source of information, advice and social connection on campus.
Pride centres can be categorized as campus communities, student-run services or non-profit organizations. Regardless of their status within their respective universities, all pride centres share the same goals: creating a safe and inclusive space for 2SLGBTQ+ students on campus and providing programming, outreach efforts and advocacy on behalf of the community.
Most pride centres have a lounge or drop-in centre where students can relax, study or meet others, and there are often volunteers on-site who provide information and specialized support. Such spaces provide students with a physical location on campus where they can be themselves, free from discrimination or judgement. Throughout the pandemic, many pride centres recreated this safe space online using platforms such as Discord. This new approach has the added benefit of allowing students the option to remain anonymous.
Pride centres are often a hub for social activities on campus, organizing events such as game or movie nights, drag shows and meet-and-greets. While most events are aimed at bringing people together and creating a sense of community, some events are more educational. Workshops and guest lectures organized by pride centres raise awareness about the issues faced by the 2SLGBTQ+ community, both on and off campus.
Most resources offered by pride centres are geared towards 2SLGBTQ+ students, meaning those who identify as two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer. For example, they offer gender-affirming clothing, clinic services, housing support, mental health and substance use support, sexual health supplies—such as condoms and pregnancy tests—and support with reporting discrimination faced on campus.
However, this does not mean pride centres cater only to 2SLGBTQ+ students! In fact, most activities and resources are available to all. Pride centres do not ask people to identify themselves, and therefore do not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender. For people looking to learn more about the 2SLGBTQ+ community, pride centres provide many resources: glossaries that define terms employed within the community, books, movies and documentaries on 2SLGBTQ+ topics and guides with answers to common questions, such as how to be a good ally. Nowadays, most of these resources are available online, making them easily accessible to students on and off campus.
Pride centres often extend their services beyond campus. They are known to organize activities for members of the greater community—including teenagers and seniors who may not have other ways to connect with the 2SLGBTQ+ community—and many of their online resources are available to the general public.
Whether you’re a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, a dedicated ally or someone who wants to learn, you should consider paying a visit to your local pride centre!
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Tagged: Equity, diversity and inclusion