Devan C. Tasa, News Editor Ω
“It’s okay to be gay.”
That’s what organizers at the second annual TRUSU Pride Parade told the 400 people in attendance on April 5.
At 11 a.m., people dressed in everything from regular street clothes to outfits with vibrant colours listened to speeches, then marched across campus chanting slogans like, “Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Homophobia’s got to go.”
Katie Hutfluss, the organizer of the event and a TRUSU director, was pleased with how the march went.
“I think it was an overall success. I think we had a few more people than last year and we’re looking forward to plotting out the total numbers and seeing how people liked the event,” she said.
“I’m so happy we’ve had a good turnout and I’m just really happy that people are having fun.”
The pride parade marks the end of a school year that saw the creation of a LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer and questioning) collective and representative within TRUSU’s structure. Newly-elected LGBTQ representative Nic Zdunich told the attendees that he was repeatedly asked on the campaign trail why his position was needed.
“The answer to me is simple,” he said. “We need one for progress.”
Progress, said Zdunich, would include the creation of pride-positive spaces in the community, combatting cyber-bullying and improving community support for LGBTQ people.
“We must make progress so no minorities feel like a minority anymore and it needs to be done in this generation,” he said.
The LGBTQ community from outside the university was also invited to speak at the parade. Brian Husband, the president of the Kamloops Gay and Lesbian Association (GALA), spoke on behalf of that organization.
“We’re very pleased to celebrate such an important event with TRU Pride and just want to say that you have helped the cause by bringing education, acceptance and awareness to all gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, questioning and two-spirited people everywhere,” he said.
Other organizations from outside of the LGBTQ community, including the Kamloops United Church, the B.C. Government Employees Union, the B.C. Nurses Union and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), also attended.
“CUPE’s been actively involved in supporting gay, lesbian, transgendered and other groups. A lot of the people that work at TRU and the community are transgendered, gay and lesbian and we like to support our brothers and sisters,” said Lois Rugg, the president of CUPE Local 4879, which represents support workers at TRU. “That’s why we’re here today at the parade; to show our support to all of the groups.”
Mariah Peters, a second-year English and philosophy student, was one of the parade’s attendees.
“I’m here because pride parades are a heck of a lot of fun,” she said. “They’re great for promoting a minority community that could use a little bit more support.”
Peters urged people to connect with the LGBTQ community.
“I encourage everybody to be involved in the community, even if they aren’t queer themselves, because every bit helps,” she said. “It’s good to have support in the community and it’s all very much appreciated.”
Approximately 400 people marched in the second annual TRUSU Pride Parade on April 5. – PHOTOS BY DEVAN C. TASA