NewsOnline exclusive

SAIT Pride Week celebrates LGBTQ+ students

SAIT’s Gender Sexuality Inclusion Committee rolled out rainbows this week

This year’s SAIT Pride Week was one of the biggest ones yet, according to organizers.

“Because we have a bit of a budget to work with, it’s allowed us to do a lot of the things we always wanted to do,” said John Partington, SAIT Transfer Options Coordinator.

From Feb. 4 to 7, events were held across to campus to celebrate SAIT’s LGBTQ+ community and how much it has grown.

When Partington started at SAIT four years ago, he said he noticed a lack of LGBTQ+ events and community on campus.

“I was curious as to the reasons why, of course, but also what could I do to get involved,” said Partington.

Shortly thereafter, SAIT’s presence in the LGBTQ+ community started to grow. Twenty-two people from the staff and student body at SAIT participated in Calgary Pride three years ago. This past summer, SAIT’s LGBTQ+ community sent 96 people to Calgary Pride according to Partington.

SAIT Pride was showcased to the community with events all week, started with the flag raising at 9 a.m. the Monday morning.

This was the fifth annual flag raising SAITSA put on, though it was a little non-traditional this year, according to Jessica Beddow, VP Student Life.

“Currently the flag poles are under construction, so we don’t really have any,” she said.

There was rainbow hot chocolate at the event, regardless of whether the flag poles cooperated or not. 

The visibility of a flag raising is important for more than just a signal that the party has started, said Carling Brezinski, a first-year journalism student who identifies as bisexual, and non-binary.

“It shows that you aren’t alone in who you are,” they said.

“It’s a positive example, especially for those who aren’t out yet.”

The week continued with a Drag 101 workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 5, which was a drag history lesson wrapped up with a tutorial on make-up techniques, binding, tucking, and drag culture.

“We [had] kings and queens here to show you how to get into drag,” said Partington. 

“We [had] a section in the Rainbow Reception to let everyone who wants to strut their stuff.”

There was also a clothing swap on Wednesday, Feb. 6 in the Johnson Cobbe Energy Centre, with all items on sale for $4.00 a piece, and proceeds going toward a new scholarship program.

“We want[ed] it to be LGBTQ+ specific, but it will depend on how much money we raise[d],” said Partington.

“We [had] the sale and a mix and mingle, so we [had] coffee and Timbits and rainbow Jenga and board games too,” said Beddow.

The Rainbow Reception was from 5-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7 and was a celebration to show that there is space for everyone on campus.

There were performances from the Calgary Men’s Choir, drag shows, and performances from staff. 

“It’s lots of camp and lots of fun,” said Beddow.

“It’s a chance to celebrate that SAIT is becoming a more welcoming and inclusive place,” said Partington.

“There’s lots of us here,” said Beddow.

“We’re here, we’re queer, we’re loud.”

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