“The Pride Picnic took place on September 19 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the EME Amphitheatre. The picnic emulated a laid-back festival vibe with live music, glitter, pride decorations and lots of string lights.”

Photo by Emmah Barber.
Photo by Emmah Barber.

The 2019/2020 school year started on a welcoming note with a ribbon cutting ceremony taking place outside of the UNC to unveil the revamped rainbow staircase which better reflects the diversity of the LGBTQ2SIA+ communities on campus. The unveiling also set the tone for UBCO’s fourth annual Queer Orientation month.

Queer Orientation is “an informal collection of community building events for LGBTQ2SIA+ students, staff and faculty members” said Jenica Frisque, the Equity Facilitator of the UBCO Equity and Inclusion Office.

Photo by Emmah Barber.
Photo by Emmah Barber.

The Equity and Inclusion Office, UBCSUO Price Resource Center and Positive Space Committee all play a role in organizing the Queer Orientation. This year, the QO’s feature event was the UBCO Pride Picnic which took place on September 19 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the EME Amphitheatre. The picnic emulated a laid-back festival vibe with live music, glitter, pride decorations and lots of string lights.

Jordy Decker, a recent alumni and new staff member at UBCO, led everyone through the evening performances by Dj Slim Tyme, Leila Neverland, Madeline, Post-Modern Connection and more. The rainy September weather held off for the majority of the event, but unfortunately rained out the last act of the evening. Nonetheless, the live performances were positive and empowering; each being unique in their own way.

Photo by Emmah Barber.
Photo by Emmah Barber.

Therapy dogs from B.A.R.K were at the picnic to give and receive love throughout the evening and were a hit. Free Parent Hugs, a volunteer group made up of “affirming parents and allies who love the LGBTQ+ community unconditionally” also came out to show their support. One Big Table, a local grocer, provided the snacks and refreshments throughout the night.

“While a lot of effort went into planning the Pride Picnic, we still planned some smaller events for specific groups for this year's Queer Orientation, for example the Trans and Gender diverse peer support group, which will run all year long (contact the PRC for details) and the Queer Faculty & Staff Meet-up,” said Jenica Frisque.

Photo by Emmah Barber.
Photo by Emmah Barber.

“Having a big event, with live music and free food, was our way to bring people together to celebrate queer presence in Kelowna and increase visibility on campus.”

Jenica Frisque finished by stating, “At the end of the day, the Pride Picnic was a magnificent celebration and the staircase is a positive symbolic gesture, but there is still lots of structural changes and education to be done.”