AUSU Acknowledges Pride Month

For many 2SLGBTQIA+ students at AU, throughout Canada and abroad, June marks the beginning of Pride Month.

As we enter the second Pride season in the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, this often-joyous occasion remains a sombre one for many, with celebrations and parades cancelled and people facing increasing isolation, medical concerns, and uncertain economic situations.

Despite this, we continue, remembering the roots of Pride by paying homage to all those who came before us and struggled for the basic human rights, safety, and dignity of all 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals. This Pride Month, we remember the legacy of those who created lasting change like Marsha P. Johnson, Stormé DeLarverie, Silvia Rivera of Stonewall, and the countless individuals around the world who continue the struggle to this day. 

We also remember events closer to home, including the 1998 case of Vriend v. Alberta, which precipitated increased rights and protections for 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals Canada-wide. Despite progress, for variously intersecting communities including disabled and racialized communities, the struggle continues, especially in this pandemic. However, notwithstanding the hardships, joy remains and the community moves forward. We persevere, we survive—and we thrive.

As a result, AUSU council has been hard at work developing a variety of initiatives to support and advocate for 2SLGBTQIA+ students, including the 2SLGBTQIA+ Discord Server providing a starting point to meet fellow 2SLGBTQIA+ students. The server is also open to allies and friends so feel free to come say hello!

Since moving on from my previous role as Vice President External and Student Affairs to my current as Vice President Community and Wellness, I have been able to dedicate increased time expanding the Discord Server into more of an informal centre and community space. A great deal of plans, including advocacy policies, events, and socials are in the works, so stay tuned! 

Our most recent initiative is the 2SLGBTQIA+ Student Lounge Drop-In Hour pilot project, which serves as a casual space for students to meet other students—or simply chat with myself—and discuss whatever is on their minds. The next Drop-In Hour is on July 7, 2021, at 10 am MT

In addition, the AUSU 2SLGBTQIA+ Discord Server Resource List exists as a living document that is ever-evolving and ever-expanding, providing students with 2SLGBTQIA+ resources in all provinces and territories. 

AUSU will also be calling for applications for Student-at-Large members of the newly created Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee. The application period will begin on June 4th with a deadline of June 16th. All current AUSU members are encouraged to apply for a chance to become involved in student governance and the decision-making process as AUSU further develops its commitment to EDI principles. 

Also check AUSU channels throughout Pride Week from June 18–June 27, 2021, as we will be posting various 2SLGBTQIA+ specific stories on a variety of social media including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

Last but not least, I will be hosting a Pride-Themed AUSU Podcast and am looking for a couple of current AU undergrads from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to come and discuss Pride Month and other topics affecting the community, as well as your experiences as an AU student. Feel free to message me directly for more information.

Happy Pride everyone!

Natalia Iwanek
Vice President Community and Wellness (VPCW)