Western Pride celebrates identity, inclusion

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Western Pride launched its 2019 celebrations with a mix of rainbows and sunshine.

A flag-raising ceremony took place Monday to begin two weeks of events that will culminate in a Western float and contingent at London’s citywide parade. Other events will include the Western Pride Games at Middlesex College on Wednesday and a roving banner that will circulate through campus.

This year’s theme is ‘OUT in the Sun.’

Opening the event, Western President Alan Shepard reflected on being Western’s first ‘out’ president and praised “those who went before us” – people who made enormous sacrifices to protect and uphold people in the LGBT2QS community.

He also said it’s important to understand and enfold youths who are struggling with their sexual identity. “I hope, if they are thinking of university, they will think of Western as a safe place.”

University Students’ Council (USC) President Bardia Jalayer said inclusion is one of the core values of the USC and he is convinced “love will always trump hate.”

So far, 120 entries have registered for the Pride London parade, the highest number in its history, said festival president Andrew Rosser.