By Nikayla Goddard, November 19 2020—
Q: The SU Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity is celebrating a significant milestone: a full decade of providing the University of Calgary campus with a safe space and resources for LGBTQ2S+ students, along with promoting and providing sex education for all.
Q Centre Coordinator Azzie Taven’s enthusiasm for the anniversary was clear.
“I was really excited to be able to participate in it, let alone be one of the main planners for the anniversary as I’ve been involved with the Q Centre as a volunteer since my first year in 2016,” they said.
“It’s the tenth anniversary — it’s kind of a big deal!”
The Q Centre opened in 2010 on the second floor of MacHall. In an interview about the ninth anniversary last year with coordinator Greyson Mannella, it was said that the Q Centre originally started in a utility closet.
“Originally, I think they had ten volunteers in total, and now we have 40, so it’s a really big shift,” said Mannella. “As the community has grown and the needs of the campus community have changed, we’ve shifted with it and grown a little bit ourselves. And it’s really exciting.”
The anniversary was celebrated with a livestream video, “Building Community Identity and Queer Space” hosted by James Demers, who is Co-Founder and Facilitator at the Queer Education Foundation and has been involved in community activism in Calgary for over a decade. The video discussed what a queer community is and means, significant activists and queer history, culture and activism. The live stream is available to watch on the Students’ Union Facebook page.
Along with the livestream, the Q Centre collected a video compilation of people who have been involved with the Q Centre, sending in clips of what Q means to them, Taven said.
Due to COVID-19, the physical space has been closed, but they are hosting a Virtual Q Centre for two hours every weekday, where, Taven said, “people can come and use our drop-in services, whether they just want to come and hang out or if they need peer support that is also available. As well, we have resources that people can come in […] for.”
As for whether the space would be opening next semester, Taven said that they don’t intend to open the physical space until next fall semester at least.
“Q Centre has been here for a while, but that doesn’t mean we’re not still relevant,” Taven said. “Even though we can’t have the physical space, we’re still doing our online Q as well as holding events like the birthday celebration. In the planning stages, we’re going to have an event in January and of course Sex Week in February and March. So we are still around.
“We hope people don’t forget that just because we’re not physically able to visit each other in person on campus, that [doesn’t mean there] isn’t that community via the Q Centre.”