2 min

Carleton celebrates Campus Pride Week

Event features BDSM workshop and political debates

Pride Week is in full swing at Carleton University.
Subtitled Unapologetic: No More Binaries, No More Shaming, No More Settling, the week includes workshops by Venus Envy, a panel discussion featuring trans activist Janet Mock and a special episode of Carleton’s queer radio show, Velvet Studio.
Erica Butler, programming coordinator for Carleton’s GLBTQ Centre, says the inspiration for the subtitle came from queer students who say they constantly feel that they have to apologize for taking up space.
“People should be able to be who they are without having to say sorry for it,” Butler says. “It’s not something you need to be saying sorry for.”
She says the events and content of Campus Pride Week, conceptualized after an October town-hall meeting, reflect what queer students want to see.

Many students don’t enter into serious relationships until college, and Lara Purvis, education coordinator for Venus Envy, says communication and consent, the topic of Venus Envy’s Jan 21 workshop, are two of the most crucial elements of a successful intimate relationship.

“Every single relationship needs values in terms of consent, and you can’t really practise consent without good communication,” Purvis says. “Consent and communication come hand in hand. In the end, it’s about having a healthy perspective around sex and having safer sex experiences.”
BDSM is currently all the rage, thanks to Fifty Shades of Grey, but Purvis says Venus Envy’s Jan 24 workshop will inform students about the reality of fetish practices without the fictionalized glamour.

“I would say that Fifty Shades of Grey has given people a window into some practices of BDSM but not necessarily an accurate or healthy lens to look at BDSM,” she says. “There is so much to it, and it’s so complex. Fifty Shades is the not-so-healthy Hollywood version of BDSM. If anything . . . we hope it may intrigue people into learning more, reading more and going from there onto something a little bit more credible.”

In addition, The Velvet Studio, which recently entertained listeners with guest Diamond Rings (aka John O’Regan), is hosting a special Pride Week episode that will stream on CUSA Live. The broadcast will pay homage to British television series QI, Velvet Studio’s Luke Smith says. Guests will include drag queen Krystal Caring, drag king Randy Marshal, Alex Washington Beeby and David MacMillan.
Carleton was recently in the news after the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) voted to allow anti-abortion groups to operate on campus. Some students worried this change would transform the university into a less friendly space for queer students. Butler says that while the vote hasn’t affected the celebrations, she thinks Pride is a good time to remind all students that queer people exist on campus.
“The vote has been an incentive to remind people that there are marginalized communities on campus and they deserve attention and respect,” she says.
All Pride Week events are open to the public.