DiversiFY Friday tackles intersectionality, gender, and sexuality
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
Ever since Tanysha Klassen was elected DSU Pride Representative, they’ve always wanted to hold an event that informed their fellow students about issues that were important, such as intersectionality, gender, and sexuality.
The desire to build a culture of acceptance and understanding on the campus grew until Klassen knew they had to take action. Though their Pride Collective was small, Klassen, determined to succeed, reached out to Sam Berbeck, organizer of First Year Fridays and Student Engagement Coordinator, to collaborate.
“DiversiFY Friday is going to teach students about intersectionality, gender, and sexuality,” explained Berbeck. “Issues of equity and diversity are increasingly coming to the forefront, as they should, and we wanted students, particularly first year, to get the chance to learn about these issues and discuss them in a supportive and positive environment. The workshop will be led by students, staff, and faculty, and will be interactive and discussion based.”
Klassen gave the Other Press a sneak peek into one of the activities that will take place on March 3.
“There is going to be an activity called ‘Step Into the Circle’ where someone asks a question to the room and those it applies to will step inside the circle,” said Klassen. “This is to show everyone how diverse they are within that room and allow them to think of how diverse the entire campus must be as well.”
Notably, Professor Jaime Yard from the gender, sexualities, and women’s studies department will be presenting on protests and rallies. In addition, a workshop will be provided for those looking to become informed on the basics of gender and sexuality in today’s society.
“I think students should want to attend just to learn something they maybe didn’t know. It’s a very safe and open environment, and people don’t have to worry about it being a ‘gay’ event because it really is about everybody coming together and learning about diversity,” explained Klassen.
“We do plan to host more [events like this], but probably not this semester. Sam and I have discussed including DiversiFY Fridays as a bit of a staple for the FYF series, perhaps hosting one about race and indigenous identities on campus, in which the Aboriginal Students Collective can participate in a larger sense this time around.”
While the collaboration was originally between the Pride Collective and Student Engagement Team, Klassen and Berbeck took the opportunity to invite representatives from the Women’s Collective and Aboriginal Students Collective as featured guests.
“I think it’s very important for new students to start on the same page and be familiar [with such topics] if they’re not already,” shared Prabhjot Hundal, co-president of the Women’s Collective. “We hope to create a warmer and more comfortable place for them to come and make friends if they know that there’s something for everyone and everyone is loved.”
DiversiFY Friday will be taking place on March 3 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Fishbowl at the New Westminster Campus. All students are invited to participate and food is being provided. Coordinators urge those interested to register online before attending.