While the Pride Centre is only in its fourth semester of operation, it has been successful in creating an accepting and safe community at Algonquin.
Those were the words of Quinn Blue, the Pride Centre coordinator, in an interview with the Times on Jan. 25.
“We have a group of students who are really intentional about being inclusive about everybody that comes into the centre and I think that is really magical,” he said. “Anytime someone new is coming to us, students here will welcome them, greet them and make them feel like they’re included.”
As he reflects on almost two school years in action, he acknowledges both the successes and challenges they have had along the way.
“I think the biggest success of all is the community that has been created at the Pride Centre,” he said. “I get to see all of these amazing people who provide and care for each other while I’m at work and it’s beautiful.”
The Pride Centre had its official ribbon cutting ceremony in November 2016 after years of student advocacy.
“Sometimes people have questions of whether we need a pride centre and it took a lot of work from the students to say that we do,” he said. “Students needed to push for it, they needed to ask for it and keep on asking for it.
According to Blue, the Students’ Association took up a call to arms from the Queer Student Alliance, a former college club, to create a safe space for the LGBTQ community on campus. After the work was done, the club decided they were ready to pass the torch onto the Pride Centre.
Since then, they have been using the space for their events and to provide a place for students to go between classes.
“People come and hang out here to sit on a comfy couch and relax, to catch up on their homework and maybe to vent about stuff in a safe space,” said Blue. “Keeping the drop-in space open, providing peer support and creating inclusionary events are all really important here.”
Looking ahead to the future, Blue hopes the Pride Centre will experience as much success as it did in its first year and a half.
“We want to continue building a community, continue creating safe spaces and keep doing it bigger and better.”