Pride shines bright in the 2SLGBTQ+ community at SAIT
June is Pride Month! To celebrate and honour our 2SLGBTQ+ community at SAIT, we’ve connected with a few members to share what Pride means to them.
Haejin Han (she/her)
Accounting certificate student
Growing up in South Korea, Haejin Han was an activist for the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Working against groups who strongly opposed Pride made it difficult to confirm celebrations and secure public spaces to hold events.
Since coming to Canada, Han and her wife celebrate Pride by attending Calgary’s parade in September, decorating their home and even dressing up the family cat in a rainbow bowtie.
Now in her first semester at SAIT, Han is getting to know her 2SLGBTQ+ peers on campus.
“I was happy to see SAIT sharing a message about diversity and making campus a safe place for everyone at the information session for new students. I feel safe here and want to be part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.”
She is embracing the opportunity to own and celebrate who she is unapologetically.
“Being a student at SAIT is my first chance to be myself and to not hide or make excuses for who I am.”
Michael Napire (he/him)
Hospitality and Tourism Management student
After spending most of his life in the Middle East, Michael Napire isn’t sure what to expect for his first Pride celebration but is excited, nonetheless. As an international student, he’s looking forward to seeing the city and community come together this month, during Calgary Pride in September and SAIT’s Pride Week in October.
“Pride Month is an important time to reflect on the progress made in 2SLGBTQ+ rights, but also a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to achieve equity and acceptance for all individuals. It’s crucial to support and uplift those voices and experiences from members of the community, not just during Pride month but throughout the year.”
Napire points to SAIT’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy as one of the reasons he feels accepted and able to freely express himself on campus, and is looking forward to participating in more activities and events.
Lukas Valentine (he/him)
Instructional Designer, Centre for Applied Education Innovation
When he started working at SAIT three years ago, Lukas Valentine knew right away he wanted to be part of Pride at SAIT.
“The committee has allowed me to connect with other members of the community, both students and staff. I’ve helped organize SAIT’s Calgary Pride participation, Pride Week activities on campus and the development of the PERS 143: Queer Inclusion and Belonging course. The committee is looking ahead at ways to make SAIT even more inclusive, so everyone has a sense of belonging.”
For Valentine, Pride Month is about blending celebration and reflection. It is a time to look back on the challenges overcome by the community and milestones achieved, and to acknowledge those who have fought for 2SLGBTQ+ rights. It is also a time to come together in celebration of each other as individuals and the unwavering strength of the community.
This June, he’ll be diving into some 2SLGBTQ+ literature, learning more about local history through the Calgary Gay History Project and supporting queer-owned businesses.
“Be kind, love fiercely, embrace who you are and never forget to let your rainbow shine bright! Happy Pride, everyone!”
Celebrate the 2SLGBTQ+ community during Pride Month
Check out the Pride at SAIT newsletter for events around the city this month or pop by the Reg Erhardt Library to peruse the curated selection of 2SLGBTQ+ fiction and non-fiction reads.
The Calgary Pride Parade and Festival will be Sept. 2-3, 2023. Watch for registration to walk with SAIT in the Pride Parade.
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