A community fair, drag show and prom dance were some of the activities hosted by the Pride Centre for Algonquin’s first Pride Week on March 6 to 10.
The Pride Centre was opened last September to provide a safe, open and inclusive space in the college, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Pride Week kicked off with a community fair, which showcased many of the mental health and LGBTQ services offered at the college and in Ottawa.
“We just want to make sure that students can be connected to LGBTQ communities as well as supports around issues they might be facing,” said Quinn Blue, coordinator of the Pride Centre.
One of the vendors was the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre (ORCC), an organization established to protect and empower young women against sexual violence.
“We are here as the ORCC to raise awareness about sexual violence, and how that impacts the LGBTQ community. We are also here to make sure students at Algonquin know about the services we provide,” said Ally Crockford, a representative from ORCC.
Crockford stated there is a 24-hour crisis line available through this organization, as well as counselling for anybody who needs support.
Another establishment at the community fair was the AIDS Committee of Ottawa, which provides support, prevention, education and outreach services. They promote the well-being of anyone living with, affected by, or at risk of HIV/AIDS in Ottawa.
“If people have general sexual health questions around HIV and other STI’s they are welcome to come ask us,” said David Macmillan, the men’s outreach coordinator for the AIDS Committee of Ottawa.
Pride Week continued with a drag show and Queeraoke on Wednesday, a crafting workshop and Human Library session on Thursday and finished off with a Pride Prom on Friday.
“Prom can be kind of a tricky thing for a lot of students graduating high school who are a part of the LGBTQ community,” Blue said. “The Pride Prom is a cool dance party, you can dress however you like, and bring whoever you want. It’s a really good way to take the pressure off.”