From the President's Desk: Celebrating U of A Pride Week 2022

Pride Week matters. At the U of A, we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community where we can respectively celebrate 2SLGBTQ+ identities, experiences and histories.

Pride Week 2022

Welcome to University of Alberta Pride Week 2022! I was honoured to take part in the virtual opening ceremony on March 9 and see the strong support from our community. We were joined by Knowledge Keeper Richard Jenkins, Blake Desjarlais, Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Griesbach, and Janis Irwin, Member of the Legislative Assembly Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood and Official Opposition Deputy Whip and the Critic for Status of Women and 2SLGBTQ+ Issues. I want to thank Executive Director Glynnis Lieb and the team at iSMSS for their leadership in planning the event and all of the students, staff and faculty who have contributed to making Pride Week a success. A special thanks to talented singer/songwriter Emmet Michael for his performances through the ceremony.

Pride Week matters. Knowing that you are part of a community that values and recognizes you, and includes people who want you to feel safe and welcome, makes a real difference. My own experience as a gay teenager growing up in rural Alberta in the 1970s was at times challenging and lonely. As a university student, connecting with Pride Week events and other members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community was affirming and so important to my wellbeing. I want all of our students to feel that same support and welcome at the U of A.

At the U of A, we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community. Pride Week is an integral part of that commitment. It offers us the opportunity to reflect on the contributions, achievements, and lived experiences of our 2SLGBTQ+ communities and to recognize that the political struggle for the rights, safety, and acceptance of 2SLGBTQ+ people continues. Part of that struggle includes reclaiming and celebrating our history. I was delighted to learn of the new Edmonton Queer History Project Downtown Queer History map, and I look forward to doing the walking tour and learning more about the history of Pride in Edmonton. 

Pride Week is not only a celebration of queer identities, experiences and histories. Pride Week is also a lot of fun. I encourage you to check out the Pride Week events happening through March 17. From presentations on two-spirit resilience and running a gay-straight alliance in your school to drag trivia, yoga, hip hop and comedy, there are many ways to engage.

Like everyone, I look forward to the return of the in-person Pride celebrations when we can gather and show our pride out on the sidewalks of our campuses. Until then, I invite you to join in the online slate of events and enjoy the week!

Bill Flanagan
President and Vice-Chancellor