Humber starts Pride Month celebrations with flag raising ceremony

Jun 1, 2023 | Campus News, Headlines

Humber College kicked off Pride Month by raising the pride and trans flags outside the Learning Resource Commons building on north campus.

The annual ceremony attracted a large and diverse crowd of students and faculty from both Humber College and Guelph-Humber. Mini pride flags were distributed to some of the crowd by Humber IGNITE members.

Philemon Weldu, a fourth year Guelph-Humber Media Communication Studies student spoke at the ceremony, saying it helps to recognize the queer community and encourage a sense of belonging for everyone.

“Let this flag-raising ceremony serve as a catalyst for change within our institution,” Weldu said. “Let it inspire us to foster meaningful connections and promote dialogue that breaks stereotypes and builds bridges of understanding.”

This year’s flag-raising ceremony was hosted by Humber’s very own English professor Matthew Harris, who is also the co-lead of Humber’s 2SLGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group (ERG). He wore a beaver T-shirt that represented and honoured ‘The Beaver,’ a Toronto queer bar, where he made many lifelong friendships, that operated from 2006 up until its closing in 2020.

The crowd outside the LRC building grew as the event progressed.

The crowd outside the LRC building grew as the event progressed. Photo credit: Asma Sahebzada

After the speeches concluded, the pride and trans flags were raised and a gathering with refreshments in the LRC building was set up for everyone.

The theme for this Pride month is ‘queer joy.’

Anna Rekhviashvilli, from Humber’s LGBTQ+ Resource Centre, said she strives for queer communities to be built on love and joy rather than the current political context where LGBTQ+ communities face backlash.

“Queer joy is a radical act in a world that often tries to silence and to raise us,” Rekhviashvilli said. “I find it especially important to find joy in our identities in our lives and our communities.”

Pride Toronto Executive Director Sherwin Modeste said the support from the Humber community is comforting after recent events such as the York Catholic School Board refusing to fly pride flags at their schools.

“The raising of the pride flag sends a message that members of the LGBTQ+ community are welcome,” Modeste said.

Humber College will continue to host events throughout the month to celebrate Pride. The next event is the drag queen story hour hosted by the 2SLGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group, IGNITE, and the Humber Child Development Centre happening at the E Concourse on the North campus on June 7.