Introducing Gloria, SAMRU’s new Pride and Healthy Relationships Coordinator!

Last month, we welcomed Gloria, our new Pride and Healthy Relationships Coordinator, to the team at SAMRU! To help get to know Gloria a little better, we asked her a few questions about herself and her goals as the Pride and Healthy Relationships Coordinator at SAMRU.

Keep reading to learn more about Gloria and the Pride Centre, plus get some information on the Calgary Pride Parade, which is coming up in September!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I graduated from the University of Calgary last year with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. My primary interests were in sexual education, sexual health, and how they interact with relationships and mental health. I then worked as a summer program assistant at the Centre for Sexuality, where I supported Camp fYrefly, Pride, and other related events. 

I am really looking forward to this role and being able to be a part of the SAMRU community. I am so excited to meet and get to know students throughout the school year. Feel free to come in and say hi and get to know more about SAMRU’s Pride Centre space!

What drew you to the SAMRU Pride and Healthy Relationships Coordinator position?

I am passionate about sex education and sexual health – in this position, I can provide support for students, particularly queer and transgender folk, who are often overlooked when it comes to sex education. As a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, I think it is critical to have knowledge about queer-friendly community resources and programs and how best to access them. 

What are you hoping to accomplish in this role?

I want to listen and connect with students in ways that will allow them to feel that the Pride Centre is a safe, supportive environment for them to share their lived experiences. I also hope

to further establish a place where students can learn from each other, explore their gender and identity, and feel empowered and informed in making sexual decisions.

Why is it important to have a Pride Centre on campus?

For many students, coming to university can be the first time where they are in an environment where they can safely explore their identity and come to their own in terms of gender and sexuality. Having a Pride Centre on campus is a place to meet other like-minded people and find resources, form connections or chosen family, and have a sense of belonging on campus. 

How will you help to keep the space inclusive and welcoming for all students?

I will incorporate intersectionality into my approach in keeping an inclusive and welcoming space for all students. Listening to students’ experiences and stories and being able to tie their own lived experiences into programming and events held by the Pride Centre is important to me. I also want to be able to acknowledge the varying identities that students have to create an accessible space where students feel heard and safe to express how they feel. 

What are some ways students can be allies to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community?

It’s really important to be informed about 2SLGBTQIA+ matters and issues that impact our community. Do your own research and read about the Canadian and global policies that impact queer and transgender people. Learn more about their rich history and about important figures within the queer community. 

If you hear or witness acts of discrimination, don’t be afraid to speak up and educate those around you. You should also  be willing to actively listen to what 2SLGBTQIA+ folks have to say about their own lived experiences. Allyship lasts beyond Pride Month, so it’s critical to continue conversations throughout the year. 

Do you have any recommendations on how students can get involved with Pride?

Attending the Calgary Pride Parade, which is on Sunday, September 3rd this year, is an excellent way to show support for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Volunteering is another great way to get involved and participate. Stay tuned for volunteer opportunities in the SAMRU Pride Centre, and Calgary Pride is currently looking for volunteers to help support Pride Week activities starting August 25th, and on the day of the Pride Parade.

Make sure to keep an eye out for more information later this summer on walking with SAMRU in this year’s Pride Parade!