Ryerson closed its Black History Month celebrations with an event that represented the university’s commitment to representing its diverse student body. The fourth annual Queering Black History Month event filled Room 115 of the Student Campus Centre with campus and community activists, where discussions were raised about the intersection of race and sexuality.
The students who belong to and lead Ryerson’s Equity Service Groups know this campus needs safe spaces for students with various sexual identities. Their decision to shine a spotlight on the lives of queer and trans people during Black History Month proves this.
While other universities do their part to meet students’ needs, Ryerson’s eclectic culture has led to the formation of student groups that contribute to an inclusive campus.
RyePRIDE, one of our five Equity Service Groups, has served queer and trans students at Ryerson since 1977. From the bathhouse raids in 1981 to the “It Gets Better” campaign for LGBTQ youth in 2010, this long-standing campus group supported and educated Ryerson students through major events in Toronto’s queer history.
In addition to hosting events, RyePRIDE and the RSU offer a bursary to two full-time students who self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans.
The Christopher Skinner Memorial Bursary, named after a Ryerson graduate who was murdered in a homophobic attack, gives $500 to two students who actively ensure Ryerson is a community free of hate crimes and tactics.
Queer and trans students at Ryerson are not limited, like they may have been in high school, to a lonely room identified by a small rainbow or pink triangle sticker on the door.
The Equity Services Groups are successfully working together to not only accommodate, but celebrate the diverse identities that exist on this campus, and they’re making their community proud.