Campus Equity & Meaningful Inclusion

Initiatives at MRU


photo courtesy of Adrian Shellard 


Pride month at MRU


When asked about the history of pride, often the first thing that comes to people's minds are the Stonewall Riots. Canada, however, has its own rich history and turning points in the struggle for and eventual celebration of LGBT rights.

The most well-known of these are the Toronto raids which led to riots that turned into what is today, a vibrant pride festival. It was not the only turning point in our history, so over the month of June, @MRUCEMI, @SAMRUBUZZ and @MRULIFE present to you a brief timeline of notable events in the history of LGBTQ in Canada.

Stone Wall Inn, New York City. 
Early in the morning of June 28, 1969,  police raided the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village bar that had become a staple of New York City's underground gay community. Police arrested the employees for selling alcohol without a license, roughed up many of its patrons, cleared the bar, and—in accordance with a New York criminal statute that authorized the arrest of anyone not wearing at least three articles of gender-appropriate clothing—took several people into custody. The patrons were told to line up against the wall and be ready to produce their identification. 











Those whose gender didn’t appear to match their driver’s license would be arrested, and those without identification would be taken into another room to have their sex verified.  It was the third such raid on Greenwich Village gay bars in a short period.

But this time, tired of the transphobia and homophobic ongoing raids, community members fought back, striking what would become known as the Stonewall Riots.

The people milling outside the bar did not retreat or scatter as they almost always had in the past. Their anger was apparent and vocal as they watched bar patrons being forced into a police van. They began to jeer at and jostle the police and then threw bottles and debris. Accustomed to more passive behaviour, even from larger gay groups, the policemen called for reinforcements and barricaded themselves inside the bar while some 400 people rioted. The police barricade was repeatedly breached, and the bar was set on fire. Police reinforcements arrived in time to extinguish the flames, and they eventually dispersed the crowd.

The riots outside the Stonewall Inn waxed and waned for the next five days.

50 years later, the Stonewall Riots are remembered as a critical event in the history of liberation for LGBTQ people, a moment when enough was enough, and people refused to submit to discrimination based on their sexual and gender expressions.  New York City is hosting World Pride 2019 (Toronto, in 2014, was the first North American city to host World Pride).  For more information about World Pride 2019, please visit World Pride 2019 Stonewall 50.



Thursday, June 20th
12 p.m.
Jenkins Theatre, MRU

The Office of Campus Equity + Meaningful Inclusion is proud to present;

Outliers: Calgary’s Queer  History
2018 | Canada | 90 min | PG
Developed and Created by The Fairy Tales Calgary’s Queer Film Festival
In partnership with EMMEDIA, The Calgary Gay History Project, Alberta Culture and Tourism & The Calgary Arts Development Authority

Directed by Justine Boncezk, Leah Schmidt and James Demers
Edited by Bryce Mark
Animations by Mike Hooves

Calgary’s Queer History is a deep dive into the historical, social and political forces, which shaped the development of the queer community in Calgary. Featuring extensive footage and B-roll film from Calgary Pride in the 90’s, queer leaders recount a decade of turmoil, loss, and growth of activism and human rights. The film is a first-hand account of the frontlines of LGBTQ2+ activism at a time when the right to be out in Alberta was not legally protected, visible or developed. Spanning stories from 1960-present day, this feature length documentary delves into the moments and victories, which brought an entire community from the darkness into the light.

Transgender Day of Remembrance
From Nov. 19 to 25, the trans flag is flown, and will be at half mast as a symbol of respect and mourning on Nov. 20. The Mount Royal Library is showcasing a book display centering around trans authors, voices and stories, and an on-campus ceremony will begin at 2 p.m.

On Tuesday, November 20, the SAMRU Pride Centre will be honouring the lives of transgender and two-spirit individuals who were lost this past year to anti-transgender violence at the Transgender Day of Remembrance walk and ceremony. There have been 369 reported murders worldwide of trans and gender-diverse people since November 20, 2017.

“SAMRU believes it’s important to acknowledge members of the transgender community and the ongoing barriers they face,” says Eddy Robinson, Pride Centre Administrator and event organizer. “We host the event to show our support for this community, and we hope folks will attend to show their support. We hope the event helps people see the very serious implications of anti-transgender violence, which has led to the long list of victims we memorialize on this day.”

Similar to previous years, the event will be broken up into three parts: the opening ceremony, the walk, and the memorial itself. The event will begin at the Iniskim Centre (T110) at 2 p.m. and attendees will be guided through a smudge and prayer. Participants will then join in a guided walk through campus that will end in the second floor lounge of Wyckham House. A short memorial will be held, followed by light refreshments. Names will not be said aloud this year but will be set up in the second floor Gallery space for individual perusal and reflection.

This will be a CLOSED Mount Royal event. We ask that external media respect this MRU community-focused ceremony and instead attend the Calgary-wide event. MRU internal media are welcome to attend.

For further inquiries regarding this event, please contact Eddy Robinson (they/them) at or 403.440.6409.

Further reading available at Pride Flags:  A Series - This week, Trans Flag!



Calgary Pride Parade
The primary motivation for MRU's 6th year of participation in the Calgary Pride Parade is to promote inclusion and a sense of community on our campus. Faculty, staff, students, administrators, family and friends of multiple and intersecting identities walk together in solidarity. We began entering the parade as part of our campus's Positive Space Initiative, a grassroots awareness and advocacy campus movement that has grown and evolved over the last 15 years to provide more formalized advocacy, awareness and education to the MRU campus community. It is also important to us to signal the broader Calgary community, particularly incoming students, young people (potential future students) and potential future colleagues, that a welcoming and inclusive learning and working community exists and awaits them.

In 2018, over 200 people from the university community joined in the parade that drew over 80,000 spectators (broke the record in attendance) into the downtown area to celebrate Calgary Pride. MRU is a proud sponsor of Calgary Pride, a not for profit organization that exists to promote equality and celebrate Calgary's diversity. 

Our city, free from discrimination against gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation



MRU Pride crosswalk

A project from the MRU Pride Planning Committee in celebration of pride was to paint a pride crosswalk on campus to show its commitment to diversity and inclusion. The pride flag is a powerful symbol that shows support for a historically marginalized community. We want all students, staff, faculty, and community members to know that everyone is welcome at MRU and everyone belongs here. 




MRU Pride scholarship

Students who show leadership in support of LGBTQ communities are being recognized through a first-of-its-kind scholarship in southern Alberta. The Pride Scholarship (search for “Pride” on the page) awards $500 to two Mount Royal University students who are creating more inclusive spaces for people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

Dave Beninger started the scholarship, along with two fellow graduates of the University of Calgary. “This is a way of showing that universities - especially Mount Royal University - are really accepting and tolerant places,” said Beninger.  As someone who identifies with LGBTQ communities, Beninger understands the importance of studying in a safe place. He sees the scholarship as a means of addressing the social and economic inequality experienced by marginalized sexual communities - in educational circles, as well as in broader society.

“We wanted to step up to fill the gap,” Beninger said. Joe Dutton, a senior development officer at Mount Royal, credited Beninger as the driving force behind the award, while also acknowledging the University’s leadership team for steering the scholarship through the approval process.  “In terms of inclusivity, it sends a strong message to the community,” said Dutton, adding he was tremendously proud to work on the student award.

In the past, members of LGBTQ communities noted there are few awards specifically for those who identify as sexual minorities. The University of Alberta selects two students for the Michael Phair Leadership Award. The Students’ Association of Mount Royal University offers a Gender and Sexual Diversity Award.




Pride Centre SAMRU

The Pride Centre is a queer-positive, all gender-inclusive, safer space in which students explore gender and sexual identity. The Pride Centre is a space for students to: 

  • create inclusive community across the gender and sexuality spectrum
  • find support for themselves and support their gender and sexually diverse peers
  • enhance everyone’s learning about gender and sexual diversity

The Pride Centre’s programs and services include:

  • Gender and sexuality resource library
  • Free safer sex and pregnancy prevention supplies including latex-free, internal condoms, and dental dams
  • Free educational information for gender and sexual diversity, sexual and reproductive health, and healthy relationships for people of all genders and sexualities
  • Referral services and peer support
  • Queer-positive events and workshops