LGBTQ collective in the works for TRUSU

Justine Cleghorn, Contributor Ω

As a member of the Pride Club at TRU, Corey Keith is looking forward to a TRUSU collective with LGBTQ needs at heart. She stands in front of TRUSU proudly holding the Pride Club's flag. - Photo by Justine Cleghorn

As a member of the Pride Club at TRU, Corey Keith is looking forward to a TRUSU collective with LGBTQ needs at heart. She stands in front of TRUSU proudly holding the Pride Club’s flag. – Photo by Justine Cleghorn

TRUSU is not only allocating more funds to student collectives, but also planning to add a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) collective to the union after the annual general meeting on Jan. 24.

50 votes endorsing the creation of a pride collective is needed to secure the formation of the collective.

The only way to create a new advocacy representative on the council within TRUSU bylaws is through the annual general meeting, said TRUSU president Dustin McIntyre.

“That’s why we didn’t do it when we first got into office. We had to wait and create the proper paper work.”

The formation of the LGBTQ collective has been a priority for TRUSU since last year.

“Right now, not having the LGBTQ collective is silencing a community that should have a voice,” said Alexandra Moulton, head of the women’s collective .

A pride collective “will make room for all people with different gender and sexual constructions to have a space for advocacy,” she added.

A club is like a social gathering, whereas a collective is a more structured, hands on approach to talk about issues, said Katie Hutfluss, a council member since April 2012 and one of the main organizers of last year’s pride parade.

“This is where people learn about themselves, and we want to be that support group and tell them that being gay is okay,” she said.

“One of the biggest things that I have found is although more and more people are coming out, a lot of people are still very scared,” said pride club member Corey Keith.  “They are afraid of being discriminated against.

“Having a collective allows for the creation of a safe space and a community that can share experience and information at a higher level,” Keith said. “It’s not just about putting on a fun event, it is also about creating safety and awareness.”

An estimated 350 people participated in the Kamloops pride parade in April 2012.

“The response to the pride parade is a testament to why we need a pride collective,” Moulton said.

“I’m really excited for it because I think it is something that we need on this campus and as well as in Kamloops as a community,” McIntyre said. “My fingers are really crossed that it goes through.”

TRUSU also hopes to add a graduate students collective to the union following this year‘s AGM.

Increasing the budget from $5,000 to $10,000 will give collectives enough money to host great events without going over budget, McIntyre said.

“We recognize that these events need to happen and they need more resources to do that,” he said. “As our membership gets larger and as advocacy becomes more important on campus, it makes sense that they have the ability to host the events that they need to.

“We’ve also already anticipated that these collectives, the grad collective and the LGBTQ collective, will go through so they have already been allocated funds for the year even though there wasn’t an advocacy rep on our board,” said McIntyre. “So next year when they come into term, there will already be a budget established for them, making it a little easier to facilitate.

“We didn’t have to strike anything off the budget to make this work.”

TRUSU’s annual general meeting will take place in the TRUSU lecture hall on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.

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