A day to be proud of who you are
By Tania Arora, Staff Reporter
On account of the 30th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, Douglas Students’ Union organized DSU Pride Coming Out Day on October 9.
The event aimed to celebrate people’s gender identities and sexual orientations in order to encourage the idea that people should not be ashamed of who they are. To celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, a discussion was held where people could come out and speak their heart out. Believe it or not, some pride stories brought tears to the eyes of everyone present.
In an interview with the Other Press, Melissa Chirino, a second year Psychology student and Pride Representative for the DSU, said that there will be more events like this in the future hosted by the DSU.
“Since I started working here, this was my first event and I actually felt the need of having one where students could come out and express themselves and raise their voice,” said Chirino. She said she anticipates that the DSU will hold more and more similar events in the future.
For people who couldn’t come out and didn’t feel confident enough to share their stories, Chirino also said that her office is a safe space.
“You can always come up to me during my office hours and talk to me,” she said. “I will hear you out. If not, you can go to the counsellors whenever you feel like.”
All the people present at the event were from different countries and backgrounds. A common idea passed around them was that everyone felt Canada is the safest country when it comes to the acceptance of LGBTQ+ people.
According to the Government of Canada’s website, sexual intercourse between same-sex couples was only legalized in 1969, and same-sex marriage was only considered legal in 2005. Though LGBTQ+ people are still a long way from being treated equally in Canadian society, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the first Canadian prime minister to walk in pride parades throughout the country, marking another step towards full acceptance.
Various organizations like Egale Canada, LAMBDA Foundation, Welcome Friend Association, and PFLA Canada aim to further sexual orientation rights within Canada. Amendments were made to the Canadian Human Rights Act in the year 1996 to exclude sexual orientation as a basis of discrimination. The Canadian Human Rights Commission is in charge of monitoring the implementation of the act.
Chirino said that compared to home, she found Canada to be a more accepting country.
“In other countries, people are both ignorant and unaware of this whole situation,” she said. “Like my school back home would never put a gay flag up. In Canada, people are chill. They will hear you more and not discriminate or act differently with you.”