It’s January 30, 2021, and we are gathered over Zoom for the Trent Queer Collective’s (TQC) Annual General Meeting (AGM). As we try to make origami dogs for an opening activity, we quickly understand that not all of us are experts at forming paper creases and following directions on mirrored screens. As the humour persists, it showcased a comfortable greeting space where all folks could engage and meet other 2SLGBTQ++ folks.
The Queer Collective has often been known as a radical space, with initiatives such as the Queerlines issue that ran through the physical version of Arthur. The Queerlines issue served as a space where Queer individuals “took over” the paper for the week and produced content such as poems, artwork, soft pornography and more.
The AGM highlighted the collective’s revamped by-laws and constitutions that HUB members, staff and committed volunteers follow to create better consensus decision-making and communication skills. In the new by-laws all staff members have to take an anti-oppressive training which is specific to anti-racism and transgender solidarity. The training is offered to anyone so that the general space can be more inclusive and educated. So far, the TQC has been working on strengthening their staff team, curating events such as weekly meetings, the Q(tea) Party and broadcasting their weekly radio show, Queer Talks. The collective has worked on reformatting their Instagram page and rebranded, thanks to local graphic designer, Said Jiddawy!
Here are some additional highlights from the AGM. The TQC:
Secondly, as members pushed for safer spaces around campus last term, one of the issues fell on the Trent Athletics Centre as a community member was targeted while at the gym. In the article: Lack of Representation: Queering the Athletics Centre we learn to understand the multifaceted issues that come up in these spaces for 2SLGBTQ++ individuals. In the new year, the TQC received an email from Leslie Spooner, the Assistant Director, who reported that they had changed the accessibility sign to make it more inclusive for gender neutral folks who need the change rooms and that the staff of the Athletics Centre had to complete Positive Space Training.
After the AGM I reached out to staff member, Haven, HUB member, Jade and an active community member, R to see how they are feeling about working with the TQC and what they are excited about for 2021. They all share their own individual experiences below:
Haven: Being a staff member of the TQC has allowed me to find community and provide me with a safe space to be my authentic self. I’m excited to be working with the TQC and look forward to creating a Queer skateboard group in the Spring! I want to be able to provide a welcoming space for other Queer people to start skateboarding and make more skate friends. Some of the changes I’ve been working on since being with the TQC is updating by-laws and the constitution. As they were approved at our last AGM, I hope to update and add more to them each year in order to be as inclusive and anti-oppressive focused as possible.
Jade: As a HUB member I love working on all different projects the TQC has undertaken. I feel our events cater to a variety of students because they cover many interests. For example, we have the Q(tea) Party for academic discussion, our weekly hangouts for making friends and our events at the Athletics Centre create space for people to be more comfortable at the gym. I think these events and activities foster a community! So far, my favourite project has been the QTBIPOC Fund where we’ve been able to collect funds as an organization and distribute them to local QTBIPOC individuals.
R: I am very grateful for the space the organization has created for BIPOC Queer folks. The HUB has done a lot of work in the past year with creating and connecting community. For instance, the pen-pal program helps connect individuals to Queer mentors. It’s a very gratifying role to know that your efforts have enabled someone to engage with their queerness. For a long time, I had to read about intersectionality and making spaces more inclusive. Since engaging with the TQC it helped me to witness real examples of this and how to develop critical thinking for anti-oppressive spaces. The TQC has done wonders not only for the community but also for me, as a South Asian Queer individual. I’m currently working on bringing the South Asian community in, in hopes to raise awareness in this community and create more accountable spaces for their Queer peers.
As the TQC expands its roots with the community and creates a space for continued growth they hope to branch out and share a wide range of events with students and community members in the future. If you would like to know more about what the TQC is up to be sure to join the weekly hangouts every Saturday 12pm-1:30pm on Zoom.
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