KSA Pushes for “National Coming Out Day” Event

Student association hopes to establish visible support for KPU’s LGBTQ+ community

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KSA Queer Rep Ryot “R” Jey pictured in Feb. 2016. (Geoffrey Nilson)

The Kwantlen Student Association is putting forward plans to encourage visible support for KPU’s LGBTQ+ community by submitting a “National Coming Out Day” event. The proposal will be brought to the constituency committee in early September for final approval. If approved, the event could take place as early as October.

KSA Vice President Student Life and Women’s Representative Natasha Lopes is excited for what this event can offer to the LGBTQ students at KPU.

“It’s really just to highlight and bring together the LGBTQ community in solidarity,” she says.

Ryot Jey, the Queer representative for the KSA, says the idea originally came about when he was working with the Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group.

“I thought it was just going to be a small workshop, so I figured why not, on my end, do a full event and have [KPIRG] come on to do a workshop,” he says. “But after further discussing with them, it was more a large scale kind of event.”

While certain details for the event will be determined later, Jey says it will likely be between six to eight hours and will consist mostly of workshops where students can engage with each other.

“Speaking from my own personal experience, it’s difficult to find other folks who are also queer and trans,” says Jey. “With this event, students will be able to meet other students who might be queer and/or trans or allies and supporters who they can hopefully create friendships with.”

Jey says he has been talking to various organizations that could come to speak at the event. He wants students to communicate freely with each other during the workshops.

“I’m hoping that students are able to engage in conversations about sexual well-being, about [being] trans, and a variety of things at this event,” he says.

Jey hopes to create a theme of inclusion for this event and to focus on people of various racial backgrounds in the LGBTQ+ community. He hopes that this will give students a wide range of experiences to learn from.

“A lot of the conferences that I have been to that are LGBTQ+ focused have been very whitewashed,” says Jey. “It’s better to learn from the people themselves than have to learn from people who don’t actually know their experiences.”

On August 9, The Runner reported on the perceived lack of visible support for the LGBTQ+ community at KPU. Lopes hopes that this event will be a step forward in regards to changing that.

“It will really have the campus stand in solidarity with the community at such a crucial time,” she says. “We look around the world with the atrocities that are happening day to day. We need that bright sunshine and this event will be that bright sunshine.”

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