LGBTQ is an acronym that has been used since the 1990’s, which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning.
According to Amanda Hanna, SAITSA VP of Student Life, sexual awareness week will take place from Feb. 10 – 14, and Pride Awareness Day will be held on Feb. 12, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
To mark the occasion, SAITSA has gotten approval to fly the Pride Flag on the bus loop, west of the Stan Grad Centre on Feb. 12, which is “really exciting,” said SAITSA President Tegan Cochrane.
“It’s really important just to raise awareness and just show people that we are all in support of it, and we’re all allies on this campus,” Hanna said.
“Just showing that off and getting students knowledgeable and engaged is really important.”
SAITSA will have events planned throughout the day for SAIT students to learn about how to support and accept everyone on campus.
“Outlink Calgary will be here setting up a booth to answer any and all questions from students.
“SAITSA itself will be setting up tables in five different buildings and handing out hot chocolate with rainbow marshmallows, in a rainbow cup,” Hanna said.
This may be the first time for SAIT to be holding a gay pride event, but other schools in Calgary have already been doing these celebrations.
“We are probably the last school to jump on board,” she said.
“U of C and Mount Royal all have centres that are dedicated to pride awareness and they host different events already.”
In addition to pride day, SAITSA will be holding another event known as Pink Shirt Day, to raise awareness of the problem of bullying on SAIT campus, on Feb. 26.
“We are promoting awareness of anti-homophobic bullying, racism, sexism, cyber bullying, anything like that, that we see on our campus every day,” she said.
“We just want to get people knowing that it’s not playground bullying anymore, it’s a lot more serious and in your face now.”
Hanna said one of the events that will be planned around the serious issue of LGBTQ will be a movie, at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12. in the Student Support Centre, Room NJ105 in the Senator Burns Building.
“It will be an LGBT related movie, and then we’ll have a panel discussion after with members of the SAIT community and off-campus,” she said.
Hanna said she has always wanted to hold an event like this and believes that it is very important for the college. More than six per cent of the population can relate to the LGBT community, whether they’re an ally, or a part of the community themselves.
“We have our answers, and we’re by no means throwing this in peoples’ faces, we just want the conversation to start,” she said.
“It needs to be a conversation. It needs to be out there, so I just want to get that conversation started.”
SAITSA hopes that pride day will become an annual event at SAIT, because it is such an important issue.
“It shows the support of the LGBT community, and to speak out and feel confident in your self-identity,” Cochrane said.
“We’re hoping for an increased awareness around how big the community is around campus, and the lack of services regarding this community.
“We want to encourage our students to be uplifting about the situation and to be confident in who they are, whether they are a part of the LGBT community, or not, to be supportive of one another, and to speak out against bullying in the sense of sexual orientation.
The main thing SAITSA wants to achieve during the day is to raise awareness and try to gain acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
“Showing pride in oneself, no matter what their sexual orientation is,” Cochrane said about what SAITSA hopes to achieve during Pride Day.
“SAIT Students can support Pride Day by participating in the information sessions, having conversations around the subject, wearing a pride ally pin, wearing rainbow colors,” she said.
“Regardless of being a part of the community, it’s still important to know how you can support others in your life who may be gay or bisexual or transgender, or just curious.
“Knowledge is power.”
SAITSA is prepared to defend the LGBTQ community, but hopes any backlash from the people who don’t agree with this lifestyle will be kept to a minimum.
I think that love will always conquer hate. – Tegan Cochrane
“I think we’re coming to that day and age that it is inappropriate to be rude about the subject.
“If you’re speaking out in a negative way, there’s going to be at least 10 people on the supportive side,” she continued.
“We see it all the time on SAIT Confessions. Some people are homophobic and the backlash that they receive from people who are in support of the freedom of sexuality is way greater than the people who hate against it.”