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Soaking up the incredible ambience at Pride 2016

Mount Royal is proud to support Calgary's Pride Parade.  

On Sunday, Sept. 4, Mount Royal celebrated inclusion, acceptance and equality along with more than 60,000 other Calgarians at the city’s annual Pride Parade, the most successful in its 26-year history.

President David Docherty the largest-ever Mount Royal University contingent this year.

“Calgary has a great Pride Parade,” Docherty says. “It’s an important day, but it’s also one of celebration. 

"I have taken my 15-year-old daughter since she was 10. This is a family celebration. We have grandmothers pushing strollers with their grandchildren. It’s about who people are and it’s about acceptance.

“Celebrating inclusion, acceptance and love that’s a pretty neat way to spend a Sunday.”

Mount Royal was one of 125 entries taking part, which kicked off at the corner of 1 Street and 9  Avenue S.E.

“You will feel 100 per cent comfortable, you are among friends,” says Docherty. “It’s a great day for a walk. The feeling you get when you pass a group of people who are cheering MRU because we are out there demonstrating our acceptance and inclusion as a university is very rewarding.”

Docherty wants all members of the Mount Royal University community to feel safe while on campus, and believes that the school’s participation in the parade sends a positive message of acceptance to members of the LGBTQ community or anyone struggling with their identity.

Docherty at Pride Parade 2014 
Mount Royal President David Docherty at the 2014 Pride Parade.  

“I want people to say, ‘I can go there and there’s a community of people who will accept me just for who I am. I’d feel safe at Mount Royal.’”

Mount Royal’s representation in this Calgary tradition is due to the tremendous work Diversity and Human Rights Services puts forth with their Positive Space Standing Committee (PSC)

The PSC acts to educate and promote understanding, respect and inclusiveness of issues related to sexual and gender diversity. The group raises awareness and challenges the patterns of silence that function to marginalize lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, two-spirited, intersex, queer and questioning individuals, and works towards making Mount Royal University a safe, respectful, inclusive and positive space.

Rosalee Averin serves on the committee in the role of Inclusive Education and Programming Co-ordinator with Diversity and Human Rights. She is most proud of the way the Positive Space Initiative has activated several much-needed changes in respect to the needs of the campus LGBTQ+ community.

MRU Pride Parade Contingent 
Register to become one of the MRU Pride contingent for the 2016 festivities.  

She hopes such initiatives will continue.

“I'm most excited to see the MRU community support and champion the LGBTQ+ community in Calgary and worldwide, especially as it encourages the same continued support every day of the year as a campus community,” says Averin.

Because the Calgary Pride Parade coincides with the start of the academic year, President Docherty sees the celebration as a great way to connect with the larger community.

“There is a lot of energy on campus, students are back, faculty and staff are geared up. Then we go out and celebrate our community as a part of a larger celebration, and that’s kind of neat,” says Docherty with a genuine smile. “It’s a fun day, I love the fact that it’s about celebration. Everyone from two to 82 is made to feel welcome.”

Aug. 29, 2016 — Jonathan Anderson