The University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union Pride Centre is on campus to celebrate diversity through fun events and outreach all year long. First up, the annual Queerapalooza is back and better than ever.
Since opening its doors in 1997, the Pride Centre has been a safe and positive space where students can find support and community, offering information and always a listening ear. Volunteers are trained to offer informed and confidential support. The Pride Centre is a place where everyone is seen and recognized.
Queerapalooza is the U of S’ version of Pride Week, happening from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, which celebrates people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Its events are remarkably diverse, from “Gaymes Night” to a talk on Two Spirit identities to “It’s Queerly Poetry.” It’s not hard to understand the popular appeal.
On Oct. 1, in collaboration with the University Archives and Special Collections, the Pride Centre is offering two tours of the archives, which hold one of Canada’s largest collections of queer literature. It’s a great chance to get educated and discover more about queer literature.
This tour features a behind-the-scenes look at the “Year of Queer 2” display at the Murray Library, which features examples of queer representation in media. If you miss out on the tour, though, don’t fear — “Year of Queer 2” is available for viewing year round and new pieces are added to the exhibit all the time.
Queerapalooza’s grand finale is the Fantastical Fairytale Phenomena drag show. A dedicated crew of Pride Centre volunteers have been hard at work transforming Louis’ Pub into a real-life wonderland. This is sure to be a magical evening, as attendees are encouraged to don their best fairy tale fashions.
While this is an event limited to those 19 and older, don’t be too disappointed if you are underage — the Pride Centre hosts a drag show every semester, so there is always something to look forward to once you’re of legal drinking age.
Most of this year’s Queerapalooza events are all-ages, however, allowing for maximum accessibility for interested students. This was a deliberate planning choice.
“It was very important for me to find events that involve the queer community that didn’t involve alcohol necessarily and that were open to queer youth,” Pride Centre co-ordinator Craig Friesen said. He is looking forward to the Pride Centre’s future generations and acknowledged that there is much to be learned from the younger population.
The Pride Centre runs on the hard work of volunteers both from the LGBTQ community on campus and from friends of diversity and equality. If that sounds like you, it’s easy to get involved. Friesen is friendly and enthusiastic as well as grateful for volunteer support.
“Volunteers keep the doors open,” Friesen said.
Current opportunities include aiding in the set-up or take down of the drag show and according to Friesen, helpers will receive free entry. If you miss that, though, it’s never too late to become a part of the positivity at the Pride Centre. Having volunteers at the Pride Centre is essential to its success, and Friesen believes that positive spaces are created through people. Volunteers are asked to fill out an application and drop in for a casual conversation.
The celebration doesn’t stop with Queerapalooza either. Stay tuned for Ally Week, beginning Oct. 19. This event will provide a platform to discuss queer issues and promote social justice. The Pride Centre also hosts queer men’s and women’s groups on Tuesday nights, both a great chance to get out and make new friends. According to Friesen, the queer men’s and women’s groups have seen an excellent turn out over the past year, proving that there is certainly a vibrant queer community on campus.
Whether you’re looking for unique, fun events or a group of supportive new friends, the Pride Centre is a great place to start.
For more information on Queerapalooza and future events, contact Craig Friesen through the Pride Centre’s Facebook page, email or drop by in person at room 104 in the Memorial Union Building.
Photo: Caitlin Taylor / Photo Editor