UBC likely not to have Pride event in September as previously stated

UBC won't be hosting a Pride event in September, despite stating plans to over the summer after declining an invite to the annual Vancouver Pride Parade.

In July, The Ubyssey reported UBC would not attend Vancouver Pride despite receiving an invite from Vancouver's Pride Society. A reason was not provided. At the time, UBC said it would host a Pride event in September, but Dr. Arig al Shaibah, associate vice-president, equity and inclusion, recently said this was unlikely to happen.

In a statement sent to The Ubyssey, al Shaibah said UBC decided that it was not feasible to host an event this month due to COVID-19 restrictions and full in person classes preparations. She said the university is still doing things to support the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, including holding the ongoing seventh annual Queer Orientation at UBC Okanagan and implementing a new "Positive Space" online course, that has the goal of raising awareness and visibility for the community.

"UBC welcomes the opportunity to discuss its participation in future Pride parades with the Vancouver Pride Society,” she added.

UBC’s absence from Vancouver Pride is not new. In 2019, the university was uninvited from the Pride parade after hosting an anti-SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) speaker on campus.

Students who spoke to The Ubyssey said what happened in the summer between Vancouver Pride and UBC was concerning.

Lucca Parolo, a third-year arts student, wrote in a statement to The Ubyssey this type of behaviour is unacceptable for such a prestigious institution.

“It is discouraging to see such a well-regarded organization like UBC not being clear as to the celebration of many of its student's core being,” he wrote.

Parolo also said he was not aware of plans to host a September event and was upset to learn it might not happen.

"To me, it's heartbreaking, frankly. I always hope for honesty and truth, from the establishment responsible for the education I receive, and expect it to be more concrete with its ideals," he wrote.

Aidan Boyle, a third-year arts student and member of the Pride Collective, said UBC's response for not participating in the Vancouver Pride was confusing and strange.

"It makes me wonder what other reason there might have been, since I can't see why participating in Vancouver Pride in July and having another event in September would be mutually exclusive," Boyle said.

If people wish to access on-campus 2SLGBTQIA+ resources, consider visiting these websites:

UBC Okanagan Queer Orientation

Positive Space online course

Pride Collective

Vancouver Pride Society