PRIDE AND PREJ­U­DICE

“I was of­fered a place at the Bol­shoi Bal­let Academy in Rus­sia. I had to turn it down be­cause I knew I couldn’t be my­self. I wouldn’t feel safe.”

The Kit - - FRONT PAGE - BY CAITLIN KENNY | PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY SATY + PRATHA

TIF­FANY BEAUDIN Film and tele­vi­sion editor How would you de­scribe your ex­pe­ri­ence as an LGBTQ+

per­son in Canada? “There’s still a part of me that feels, not shame, but that there’s some­thing weird about me. I don’t feel like any­one thinks, ‘ Oh, you’re a dis­gust­ing ho­mo­sex­ual,’ or any­thing, but I still do feel weird some­times, so that’s why be­ing around queer peo­ple in the ca­pac­ity of go­ing to Pride makes you feel good and safe.” What do you want ev­ery­one to un­der­stand about the queer com­mu­nity? “Be­ing queer is the funnest thing in the world. Maybe peo­ple don’t know that, and they should. Be­ing queer is one of my favourite things about my­self.”

PHOEBE NORTH Dance stu­dent and server How has the shift­ing global po­lit­i­cal cli­mate af­fected your view of the Cana­dian LGBTQ+

ex­pe­ri­ence? “I was of­fered a place at the Bol­shoi Bal­let Academy in Rus­sia. I had to turn it down be­cause I knew I couldn’t be my­self and speak my mind with­out reper­cus­sions. I wouldn’t have felt safe, which is one of the bless­ings of liv­ing in Canada.”

What was your com­ing out ex­pe­ri­ence like? “I didn’t re­ally have to come out. I got a girl­friend in grade 11, and she came over, and we were hold­ing hands, talk­ing to my par­ents. I was like, ‘ Wow, this is hap­pen­ing.’” ZOHAIR AB­BAS Univer­sity stu­dent Why did you move to Canada

last year? “I grew up in Karachi, Pak­istan. My ex­pe­ri­ence be­ing queer and be­ing Mus­lim is shaped from there. We had to move here be­cause it was get­ting dan­ger­ous back home to be openly queer.” What kind of re­cep­tion have you found in Toronto so far? “I had a fear of not fit­ting into any kind of space, but com­ing here and con­nect­ing with other queer peo­ple of colour from the di­as­pora has been so beau­ti­ful and helped me grow so much.”

ME­GAN APA So­cial me­dia man­ager What has your ex­pe­ri­ence at Pride been like in the past? “Last year was not only my first year go­ing, it was my first year re­ally know­ing that I like girls, so it was in­ter­est­ing to go some­where where ev­ery sin­gle per­son was sup­port­ing you.” What re­al­iza­tions have you

made since com­ing out? “The night­club shoot­ing in Or­lando last year was right after I started see­ing my girl­friend, and it was such a weird ex­pe­ri­ence to think that, be­cause I feel that way about my girl­friend, some­one could end your life.”

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