Why we celebrate Pride Week

NAIT Pride Week runs March 19 to 23

NAIT Pride Week is underway! It’s going to be an incredible, colourful, celebratory week on Main Campus. The week is part of the Safe Spaces initiative, dedicated to establishing safe and inclusive spaces for students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirited, queer and questioning.

We asked NAIT students and staff to share how they feel about Pride Week. Here’s what they had to say.

Why do you celebrate Pride Week?

“It’s very uplifting to see the growth and development within our society. It also is a time for us to celebrate and give a voice to those who may not have one or did not have the chance to celebrate. This celebration is for everyone of all backgrounds to come together in support of the struggles of the past to look forward to a better future.” 
Jesse Stanley, payroll and benefits supervisor

“For so long, I was made to feel ashamed of my queerness. I had to hide it just to get through school, [where] being queer [meant] guaranteed bullying. I’m really happy that I am in a place in my life now where I can be my true, authentic, bigender, queer self and I hope I can inspire people who were in the same place I was to be themselves.”
– Levi Osler, Digital Media and IT student

NAIT Pride Walk 2016

If you could say one thing to someone in the closet, what would you say?

“It is always important to take all the time you need when discovering yourself. Don’t let anybody rush you. Come out when you feel ready to. This experience may make you feel unworthy and unloved, but please believe me when I say that things will get better. Just be patient and trust your journey.”
Claire Ferreira, president of the Pride at NAIT Club and Hospitality Management student

“There’s no right way to be queer. If this is what feels good to you, that’s awesome. If you’re afraid, or just not ready yet, that’s okay too. This is your life, and it should be all about making yourself as happy and as safe as you can be. Know that if you do choose to come out, it can lift a weight that you aren’t even aware you are carrying, and the feeling of living out – loud, proud, and authentically – is a tremendous joy.”
Jamie Thiessen, database analyst at NAIT

Who are your heroes and champions for inclusion?

“My heroes are the people who fought for inclusion and equality throughout history, but specifically through the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis. These heroes fought systemic oppression and stigma to save the lives of many LGBTQ people around the world. Without the efforts of the generations that came before me, I'd have far fewer freedoms than I currently enjoy in Canada.”
– John Skene, Bachelor of Business Administration – Marketing student

“I don’t have a single hero for inclusion. My heroes are the people who, day in and day out, make it known that discrimination is not okay and who work tirelessly to make our communities and our world welcoming places for all.”
Alison Lewis, associate vice president, Campus Life

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