Dear MSVU community,
Pride Season is upon us in Canada, a time during which a variety of events take place that bring the 2SLGBTQIA+* community and allies together to celebrate the impact of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. It’s also a reminder of the importance of continued advocacy in support of 2SLGBTQIA+ people.
Mark your calendar: Pride Parade and BBQ
In Halifax, and at Mount Saint Vincent University, Pride is celebrated primarily in July, with events like Halifax Pride (including the Pride Parade) taking place between July 14 and 24.
MSVU will be part of the Pride Parade once again this year and invites all students, faculty and staff to join us (the parade will take place July 16 at noon). Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign-up. MSVU will also host a Pride BBQ as an opportunity to celebrate Pride on campus. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, July 20 and stay tuned for details.
The history of Pride
Today’s Pride events have their origins in a series of protests against police harassment of 2SLGBTQIA+ people, including raids of lesbian and gay bars in the 1960s and the well-documented riot that took place at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in June of 1969. In Halifax, the gay and lesbian community organized its first Pride Week in 1988 to protest the lack of legal protection from discrimination for 2SLGBTQIA+ people and the all-too-common threat of homophobic violence and prejudice. While we celebrate the gains that have been made since, we must always strive to do better as a society, a community, and a University.
MSVU fully supports the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. We embrace all that makes each of us unique, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. We are grateful for the contributions of MSVU community members engaged in 2SLGBTQIA+ research, course delivery and development, support services, and advocacy.
Initiatives at MSVU
Over the past year, our 2SLGBTQIA+ (Pride Advocacy) Committee has been involved in projects like the pronoun campaign, and events such as the film screening of UNSETTLED: Seeking Refuge in America with a virtual Q&A with filmmaker Tom Shepard. They have also created opportunities for education, including, for example, an online course for MSVU faculty and staff called ReThinking Gender: Trans Inclusive Spaces and Practices, available until June 30 (more information – log-in required).
I’m pleased to share that, earlier this year, the MSVU Senate approved a new minor in Queer Studies – a significant addition to our academic offerings. The Queer Studies minor, housed in the Department of Women’s Studies, grew from the 2020 launch of a Queer Studies course at MSVU (WOMS 1114) spearheaded by Dr. Brenda Hattie. The new minor thoughtfully integrates studies across a number of disciplines, including English, Family Studies and Gerontology, Sociology and Anthropology, and Women’s Studies (learn more about specific course requirements). The introduction of the Queer Studies minor at MSVU responds to student interest in increased program offerings focusing on equity-deserving groups and aligns strongly with the commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility that is at the core of the MSVU strategic plan, Strength Through Community.
I’m also pleased to note that the department of Family Studies and Gerontology will offer a new course this Winter titled LGBTQ Families (FSGN 3552), taught by Dr. Áine Humble. The course is “a critical examination of family experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit individuals, exploring alternative family structures, living arrangements, relationship dynamics, and what constitutes ‘family’.”
As part of MSVU’s 2022 Pride celebrations, the Progress Pride Flag will be raised on campus on the pole attached to the Seton Academic Centre in July. The flag, which was provided by the MSVU 2SLGBTQIA+ (Pride Advocacy) Committee, includes the six-stripe flag colours and additional colours to represent transgender people and people of colour.
I encourage you to show us how you’re recognizing Pride this year by using #MSVUPride on social media.
Sheila Brown, PhD
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor
Mount Saint Vincent University
*2SLGBTQIA+ is an acronym for two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual, while + stands for other ways individuals express their gender and sexuality outside heteronormativity and the gender binary.