opinion & features
The Canadian University Queer Services Conference (CUQSC) is headed for Regina this year and will hold its seventh national meeting in the city May 2 to 6. It’s more than just a gabfest and will include workshops, an art show, social events, caucus meetings and an open microphone drag show, which should certainly make a nice break from caucus meetings and constitutional matters.
The theme of the conference is “Getting Down To Business.” “We will have workshops looking at different aspects of supporting small organizations, which is what most LGBT centres are,” says organizer Caitlyn McMillan. “We have some experienced speakers to talk about fundraising, volunteers, sustainability, policies and bylaws, and much more….We will have daily caucuses and workshops, enabling discussion and presentations on gender, sexuality, place and intersectionalities - all areas that affect us LGBT Canadians.
“We also have nightly events, and hopefully an open mic drag show night to allow the delegates to bring their full selves to the conference, whether drag or just talent.”
Speakers will include Canadian sociologist Gary Kinsman, a professor of sociology
Laurentian University in Sudbury. Kinsman's research and publications focus primarily on the sociological perspectives of LGBT issues. Kinsman is also a social activist on feminist, labour union, social justice and anti-poverty issues.
Kinsman was a writer for The Body Politic and a central figure in the publication of the successor magazine Rites. He helped found Gays and Lesbians Against the Right Everywhere and the Lesbian and Gay Pride Day Committee of Toronto.
In Sudbury, he was one of the organizer's of the city's first Sudbury Pride event in 1997. He will be speaking about Canadian activism in the past present and future.
In 1987, he wrote one of the key Canadian texts on LGBT social history, Regulation of Desire, reprinted in 1995. In 2000, he edited and co-authored a second work, on Canadian federal government surveillance of marginal and dissident political and social groups, Whose National Security?
His latest work The Canadian War on Queers: National Security as Sexual Regulation, co-written with Patrizia Gentile, was published by the University of British Columbia Press
McMillan says they are also planning a Sunday morning all-faith gathering and hope to set up a community discussion with the RCMP to talk about Canada's legas systems.
Also scheduled to appear at the conference is Adrian Stimson, a queer performance artist from Saskatoon. Stimson is a member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation in Southern Alberta and an interdisciplinary artist.
His work explores ideas of punishment, identity, and the re-signification of post-colonial history. His work has appeared in several galleries and he has worked as an associate curator at the Mendel Art Gallery.
He is currently a sessional instructor at the University of Saskatchewan.
Conference organizers are still seeking workshop submissions. They have on-site accommodations as well as deals with Air Canada and Westjet for travel. They are expecting anywhere from 150 - 250 delegates, but hope as many as possible will attend, especially people living on the prairies.
Host for the conference is the UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, a non-profit LGBTQ service provider for the University of Regina.
It is run by a group of volunteer directors from the University of Regina community. Because UR Pride is the only funded human service agency for queer people in the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region, it is called on to provide services for that entire region.
More information at: http://www.cuqsc.org/about.php or call Caitlyn McMillan, conference organizer at 306-581-5891
- Peter Carlyle-Gordge is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.