BY DEVON HAYES
Conestoga College’s GLBTQ Welcome Night had a turnout of approximately 50 people on Sept. 10 in the cafeteria’s Blue Room. Conestoga’s Student Life Centre, along with the GLBTQ community, planned a fun and informative evening for both new and returning students who gathered to mix, mingle and share their stories and experiences.
Conestoga’s GLBTQ community – which represents the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual and queer students – was created as a “safe haven” for those looking for support and acceptance.
The panel consisted of Kevin Bluck, a 2013 graduate of Conestoga’s public relations program, second-year radio broadcast student Logan Ardelean, and Ashlea Welsh, a recreation and leisure student also in her second year.
Ardelean, a transgender man, and Welsh, his fiancée, gave some insight into what it means to identify yourself as an individual.
“It should be up to you whether or not you want to be referred to as ‘he’ or ‘she,’” Ardelean said. “As a guy, I’m still into everything I was into before I was a guy.”
“People are not made for labels,” Welsh added.
Ardelean said being transgender at Conestoga has been a great experience, but that there are some areas that need work.
“There are only two gender neutral bathrooms on campus. So if I am in the C-wing and have to go to the bathroom during class, I miss at least 20 minutes of my class. We need more resources for people who we may not know exist at the school,” he said.
Bluck, who founded Conestoga’s Gay Straight Alliance, said it is important for not only the gay community to be aware and informed.
“I wanted that inclusivity – I don’t just want it to be GLBTQ, I want there to be straight allies,” he said. Bluck also stressed that although so many people have so much to learn, we are always moving forward.
“Glaciers move slow, but we’re getting there.”
For more information about GLBTQ at Conestoga, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Counselling Services website at www.conestogac.on.ca/counselling-services.
BY DEVON HAYES