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The Pride of Waterloo

June 14th, 2017

June marks Pride month, and The Glow Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity, the oldest running LGBTQA+ student organization in Canada, will be representing the University of Waterloo in the 37th annual Pride Parade on June 25.

“A lot of us can’t go by ourselves because people come from families that are not supportive of their identities, nor do they have the time or money,” said Charley Peitzmeier, an exchange student from University College London who is currently working as a coordinator at Glow. “For Pride, you don’t have to be a part of Glow – anyone who is affiliated with the University of Waterloo can join us.”

This year, Pride chose “+” as their theme, which represents the joining of community, differences and diversity. Glow’s 2017 Pride slogan is the “SUM of Us.”

“The beauty and strength of our community stems from its variety,” Charley said. “We want everyone to know that no matter which letter they feel represented by, especially if this is a letter hidden by the non-specific little plus sign at the end of the LGBT acronym, it is the “sum” of us that matters – not only “some” of us.

Glow has marched in every Pride parade since Toronto’s first parade in 1981. The University is represented with a float adorned in black and gold amongst a sea of rainbow. Attendees also learn a dance routine that they perform along the route.

 This year marks a special first for Glow: President Feridun Hamdullahpur will be joining them.

 “A huge struggle with Glow is visibility and acceptance,” Charley said. “By bringing the President, we are trying to burst the bubble of exclusion. Since the President is marching, we have a lot more interest from the students, staff and faculty. At Pride, we’re not visitors. We are participants.”

Before heading to the parade, Glow organized for the Pride flag to be raised at University of Waterloofor the first time. The event took place on June 12 in commemoration of the first anniversary of the Orlando Pulse shooting and was followed by a vigil for the victims. The Pride flag will be flying at South Campus Hall for the entire month of June, standing alongside the Waterloo, Ontario and Federal flags.

 “Glow is a Feds service that offers a safe space for the LGBT+ community,” Charley said. “We are here for students who feel insecure about coming to a new place as LGBT+. We are here for them to offer them space and connection.”

 Glow holds office hours where people can come in to do homework, connect with peers, hold peer support meetings, and organize events.

Staff, undergrads, graduate students and guests are all invited to march alongside Waterloo students, Glow ambassadors and President Feridun in this year’s Pride Parade. Tickets are available now.

“Pride is a strengthening and affirming event – it’s a day that represents Glow. It’s where everyone feels welcomed and have the right to simply be,” Charley said.

 

Written by Kathy Nguyen, Communications Assistant.