Queer Connections: forging a community on campus

TRUSU Pride club hosting events fostering engagement and inclusivity

The TRUSU Pride Club wants members of the LGBT2SQIA+ community to make some queer connections. To bring community members together, the club has created a safe space in the UPREP room of Old Main.

The TRUSU Pride Club hosts bi-weekly meetings called Queer Connections, where LGBT2SQIA+ students can come together, participate in games, watch movies and make new friends on campus. The club sets up a variety of activities every two weeks. The club has held movie watch parties, crafting nights, and gaming tournaments in previous meetings. All activities are set up to help queer-identifying students create friendships in a fun and safe way.

“It’s a bit of a physical activity at first to get everybody talking together, and then we’ll do something like music, movies or a game in the background. So when everyone is done with the physical activity, which is usually arts and crafts or something similar, they can just sit back and relax and chat with their neighbours,” Joel Lucas, a member of the TRUSU Pride Club, told the Omega.

“Our core value is to give students of the queer-LGBT2SQIA+ community somewhere to gather, connect, feel safe and have representation on campus,” Lucas said. “It’s nice to have somewhere to be.”

TRU Wellness Centre Wellness Support Specialist Payton Hiebert–one of the founders of the event–says that Queer Connections is one of the few spaces specifically for the LGBT2SQIA+ community. They recognized the lack of LGBT2SQIA+ spaces in Kamloops and wanted to create a space where queer people could find and meet each other.

“Part of the reason that a queer space is so important is because we don’t have queer spaces in Kamloops at all,” Hiebert said. “We’re here, we’re queer, but we’re not loud because we can’t be loud because we don’t know where to find each other!”

Hiebert told the Omega that it’s important for the campus to have a safe space for  LGBT2SQIA+ students to connect, not just to make friends, but to have a place that can provide students with mental health resources and security from potential hate. Hiebert said that the TRU Wellness Centre fully supports Queer Connections, which means it can offer further helpful resources for the students.

Not all of the meeting attendees are students, however. The most popular regular at Queer Connections is a therapy dog in training named Forrest. Forrest is a fan favourite at the events and is always excited to meet everyone. Everyone is welcome to come and meet the Queer Connections unofficial mascot.

The next Queer Connections meeting will be happening in the UPREP room (OM 2551) in Old Main on Nov. 30 from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Check out the TRUSU Pride Club’s Instagram for more details.

If you’re interested in suggesting an activity for a future event or becoming a facilitator for the TRUSU Pride Club and Queer Connections,  contact the TRUSU Pride Club at tru.pride.on.campus@gmail.com.