This year’s Campus Pride Week at Carleton University will feature Dan Savage as guest speaker. An American writer, Savage pens the much-loved column Savage Love and began the It Gets Better project in September 2010.
The campaign was Savage’s response to suicides by gay teenagers who have been bullied for their perceived sexual orientation. It has spread like wildfire on the internet, with more than 5,000 video testimonies on YouTube.
Savage will speak in Fenn Lounge on Wednesday, Feb 2 during Campus Pride Week, an annual event sponsored by the Carleton University Student Association (CUSA). Dina Skvirsky, the vice-president of student issues for CUSA, is coordinating the lecture.
“It’s pretty cool, actually. We were surprised that he would say yes,” says Skvirsky. “We will also be doing It Gets Better videos, which we will show at the event. I know that there was some done in September, but we figured, why not give it another go this semester?”
Last semester, students Rob Nettleton and Melanie Rickert organized an It Gets Better project at the beginning of the school year to show incoming students that Carleton is an arms-wide-open environment.
Videos of college students speaking out will be filmed during Campus Pride Week and presented at the lecture. The week’s activities will also include a trans discussion panel, a discussion on disability and sexuality, a Venus Envy workshop, movie nights and a Jeopardy-themed game show. Pride Week will end on Friday with a Pride breakfast and drag show.
Proceeds from the Savage lecture will be donated to the Ten Oaks Project, an organization that runs both a camp for children in queer families and a leadership retreat for youth aged 17 to 24.
“A number of our volunteers at the LGBTQ Centre have participated in the Ten Oaks Project, so when we thought of what we wanted to do with the money, that was the first idea that they came up with,” says Skvirsky.