Robert Chatterton on the LGBTQIA2S+ community in Antigonish
X-Pride’s very own Robert Chatterton generously took the time to be interviewed by Bailey DeEll. During this interview, we discuss his recent work with X-Pride and how he hopes it will affect the community of Antigonish.
BD: How long have you been involved with the X-Pride society?
RC: Since 2016, I began as a general member helping out with the events which lead me to have a leadership role. Later I became the president of the society in the 2017-18 year and have held the position since.
BD: What lead you to join the society?
RC: Early on in my time at StFX I was physically assaulted because of me being gay. From this I realised the lack of supports available to those a part of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, as well as a lack of community identity in general. My goal was to create a visible community for all students and to educate all students, especially those in first year, about the LGBTQIA2S+ and how to be an ally.
BD: What kinds of events do you currently hold to promote education and community at StFX?
RC: Sex Toy Bingo is hosted at the Inn once per semester, it is designed to be a sex positive and queer inclusive space to educate people on sex, especially sex outside the heterosexual couple. Spill the Tea is a workshop based educational discussion around different topics that effect the queer community specifically, this year we have covered sexualized violence and coming out narratives. In future Spill the Tea’s we plan to cover gender and Queer Intersectionality’s: How you can be privileged and oppressed at the same time, among others. We also held National Coming out Day organized by Bre O’Handley, the Gender and Sexuality Diversity Adviser. We gave students the opportunity to fill out a message on various posters, each with their own writing prompt to support and identify with the queer community. We have also had two Awareness weeks, one for bisexuality and the other for asexuality. These two identities are not necessarily recognized and validated so we wanted to highlight them and publicly show our support for these communities. Also we hold community building events, such as Homoween Bowling, movie nights, board gaymes’ nights. We also host coffeehouses at the Tall and Small each month where it is open to everyone in the community, including those in high school and older generations, to have an intergenerational mingling of queer folk.
BD: With the coffeehouses being held so regularly, how do you feel they are beneficial for the community?
RC: I think they are beneficial because they provide an assessable queer positive representation that I think this town needs. Being someone from a rural Nova Scotian town, I had no queer positive representation in my life, until I came to StFX. Because of this, I had internalized homophobia and didn’t come out until I was 20. With the coffeehouses, my goal was to create a visible queer positive space that anyone can attend, from high school students to senior citizens, that will build intergenerational community and shift the town to be more queer inclusive as a whole. Hosting these coffeehouses at one of our local coffee shops bridges the gap between the university and the town.
BD: What are some of your future plans for X Pride this year that students and community members can look forward to?
RC: On November 20 we are holding a vigil for our Trans Day of remembrance, in which we remember and honour all those who have died because of transphobia. January contains the events I am most excited to tell you about, it is our Pride Month at StFX and we will have different events to celebrate the multifaceted interests of the community. Some of these events include a queer X Talks, drag queen hosted Sex Toy Bingo, and the Nova Scotia renowned drag show “Priscilla, Queen of the Highlands.” While these three are the highlights of the month, we still host our regular events like the coffeehouse and Spill the Tea, but also events exclusive to this month like rainbow party, art night, among others. Lastly we organize a trip to the Halifax pride parade in July to have local Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) students experience a celebration of queer identity.
For more on X-Pride check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and for other resources pertaining to the LGBTQIA2S+ community look for Bre O’Handley in the new offices on the fourth floor of the Bloomfield Centre, or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org