With fall semester exams completed and the holiday season now over, it’s time for scholarly Ottawa queers to focus less on the right answers and more on their sense of Pride.
Carleton University will hold its annual Campus Pride Week Jan 22-29. The eight-day festival will feature more than a dozen events and workshops, as well as plenty of opportunities to network and socialize.
According to Darryl Lim, programming director for Carleton’s GLBT Centre, this year centre staff decided to partner with Algonquin College’s rekindled GLBT student group, to help the fledgling organization get itself off the ground.
As always, Lim says, the crown jewel of Carleton’s Pride Week will be the Mr/Miss Campus Pride Drag Pageant, which will take place Tue, Jan 25, at 7pm, in Oliver’s Pub & Patio. Ginette Bobo will be host the event, with Gia Maria Corangie leading the panel of celebrity judges.
Although pageant contestants must either be Algonquin or Carleton students or pre-approved before the pageant, Lim says he is hopeful younger queers – many of whom may have never seen or participated in a drag show before “but always wanted to” – will attend the pageant.
“Although I know this week is exam week for a lot of high schools, I do want to invite high school kids who may be interested in doing a drag performance to come on down, because everyone is welcome,” says Lim of the drag pageant. “I just want people to feel that there is no pressure, this is all about fun.”
Another Carleton Pride programming highlight will be the discussion panel Making Places Of Worship More GLBT-Accessible.
“The panel will look at how faith leaders in the community are attempting to make their respective places of worship accessible to GLBT followers or potential GLBT followers they may not be aware of,” explains Lim. “Because, personally, I believe that you can be queer and deeply religious.”
He adds that panellists will be leaders from “various faith communities that have yet to declare open support for GLBT persons,” including representatives from the Catholic/Jesuit, Anglican, Muslim and Jewish faiths.
The discussion will take place Fri, Jan 28 from 1-4 pm in the Baker Lounge, moderated by Carleton’s ecumenical chaplain Tom Sherwood.
Not to be outdone, cross-town rivals at the University Of Ottawa’s Pride Centre have also put together an impressive slate of Pride programming for its festival, which will take place on campus from Feb 5-12.
U of O Pride Centre member Joel Guenette says he is especially excited about this year’s Infofair, which will be held in the campus Concourse (UCU 0 Level) on Mon, Feb 7.
“Our Infofair is going to be the biggest ever and we’ve got people coming from all over the place to set up booths and give information to students, ranging from health services putting up safer sex awareness to the RCMP,” says Guenette. “It’s not just going to be the same old, same old.”
As well, Guenette says the weeklong festival will also feature its annual Mr and Miss Campus Pride Week Competition on Wed, Feb 9, and a day of queer-related workshops in room UCU205 on Thu, Feb 10.
“We invite everyone to come out and celebrate with us, because it is really an event that’s geared to the whole community in the Ottawa-Gatineau area,” says Guenette. “And our events are geared toward anglophones and francophones, because we want to have as much participation as we can. So if you’ve got a night free, and feel like going to an event – come on out.”