The Revolution Starts at Home


maroon” by Humphrey King licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Post by Hannah Barath, Co-op Student Assistant at Access & Diversity

It seems like there are certain acts of violence that someone is always willing to talk about. Murder for example – there is an abundance of books, songs, films and television shows about just this. Other types of violence are deemed as private issues that are best dealt with behind closed doors. This means that even having experienced a particular act of violence can lead to shame and stigma. Sexual violence and intimate partner violence are two examples that fall into this category. However, there are many activists who are doing amazing work in raising awareness about and destigmatizing these issues. This blog post will primarily focus on intimate partner violence, what it is and how it affects different communities.

A few months ago I read an amazing book called The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence within Activist Communities. As the title suggests, this is a collection of essays and reflections on intimate violence in feminist, anti-racist, LGBTQ2I, and activist communities. It was an incredibly powerful read and I learned so much about intimate partner violence, allyship, and accountability. The anthology is edited by Chin-In Chen, Jai Dulani and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. I was also fortunate enough to attend a talk with Leah during UBC Sexual Assault Awareness Month in January 2015. In this talk, titled Strong Communities Make Police Obsolete Leah talked about the activism that she has been involved with, the importance of self-care, and justice methods that offer an alternative to the police.

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Let’s CampOUT This Summer!

CampOUT 2014 009

By Helena Zhu, Women Students Program Assistant at Access & Diversity

CampOUT! is a UBC-supported summer camp for British Columbia and Yukon’s queer, trans, and allied youth aged 14 to 21. Running from July 2 to 5, 2015 on Gambier Island, the sixth annual CampOUT gives opportunities for youth to become leaders for social change, meet new friends, access resources, and engage in imaginative, critical, and innovative workshops. CampOUT also features traditional camp activities, such as canoeing, campfires, and arts and crafts.

“I feel incredibly accepted and supported at camp, and that really helped me begin to accept myself,” one past participant shared after attending CampOUT.

CampOUT is an opportunity for diverse range of individuals to come together to learn more about themselves and each other. It also enables participants to learn about how they can act as allies across their differences and share their skills, while getting their needs met.

If you or your child is interested in a safe and inclusive space where you/they can develop leadership skills, build self-esteem, inspire each other, foster hope and resilience, and connect with resources that can support your/their health and well-being, give CampOUT a try.

The camp only costs $25 thanks to the generosity of community partners and donors. Application for CampOUT! is open now until Sunday, March 29. You can find more information and apply on CampOUT’s website. Should you have any questions, please contact CampOUT at, 604-822-8298, or toll free at 1-877-678-2267.

Raising the flag for Outweek 2015


Post by Hannah Barath, Access & Diversity Co-op Student Assistant

The first couple months of the year are usually pretty grey, but from February 6 – 14 there will be a colourful addition to our campus. During this week the Rainbow flag will be raised for Outweek. This year’s theme is “Sowing Seeds and Setting Roots”.

Since the 1970s the Rainbow flag has been a symbol of pride, hope, and diversity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, two-spirit, and intersex (LGBTQ2I) communities. It symbolizes pride in standing up for and being the person one is; hope for progress and equal rights in society and around the world; and diversity within LGBTQ2I communities.

The flag raising ceremony that will kick off Outweek 2015 will be held at 12.30pm on Friday, February 6. It will take place at the flagpole plaza between the Student Union Building and Brock Hall. Rainbow cake will be served and there will be both gluten-free and vegan alternatives.

In 1978, San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker designed the first Rainbow flag with eight stripes: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo, and violet. According to Baker, the colours represented, respectively, sexuality, life, healing, the sun, nature, harmony, art, and spirit. Over time, the flag has evolved to become a symbol of solidarity and strength for LGBTQ2I communities. The current flag consists of six colours and is recognized by the International Congress of Flag Makers.

In 2015, LGBTQ2I communities still face discrimination. UBC flies the Rainbow Flag in support of our LGBTQ2I students, faculty, and staff. Please join us in celebrating the diversity of our campus.

Visit for more information regarding Outweek 2015.

What I loved about “What I LOVE About Being QUEER”


Post by Hannah Barath, Access and Diversity Co-op student.

At the end of September I had the opportunity to attend a screening and discussion of “What I LOVE About Being QUEER” with film-maker Vivek Shraya. Often when we hear stories from members of the queer community, we hear about discrimination and challenges they face. In his work as an artist, human rights advisor, and positive space coordinator, Shraya has met many young queer and trans individuals struggling with internalized feelings of shame, homophobia, and transphobia. This film was created to offer a positive alternative narrative. It is not meant to take away from the stories of struggling, but rather act as an accompanying story that supports and inspires.

In this film, 34 individuals share what they love about being queer. The result is a touching and impactful film that celebrates all that is queer. By interviewing a group of people varying in age, ethnicity, and gender expression, Shraya highlights the diversity that exists within queer communities. Not quite content with that, a Tumblr page where people can submit their own answers, as well as a book, was created to show an even more complex picture of the diversity within queer communities.

As expected, what people chose to talk about was quite varied. One of the topics discussed was sex. For some, queer sex is central to their identity, and for others it is just one of many things they love about being queer. Some love the physical aspect of it while some love that the absence of normative expectations lets them personally define what queer sex means for them. A film where queer sex is unabashedly celebrated is both wonderful and needed because it is something that is rarely talked about, at least in a positive manner. It also shows that there is nothing wrong with enjoying or wanting sex if you are queer.

The celebratory nature of this film isn’t meant to take away from the challenges queer individuals face in their daily lives. It is important that we remember to acknowledge these struggles. Queer sex is often demonized, condemned, and seen as unnatural. In order to change cultural attitude around queer sex we need to change the structures that support these attitudes. One way to make conversations around queer sex more positive would be to broaden sexual education programs beyond educating youth about sex for reproductive purposes. If instead, sex can be taught as something pleasurable it would only be natural to include topics such as queer sex and consent within the educational context.

In the discussion that followed the screening, Shraya said that he wants society to move beyond acceptance and tolerance, to strive towards celebration. With “What I LOVE About Being QUEER” he does exactly that, celebrating and connecting queer communities to each other while challenging mainstream narratives that surround queer identities. To explore, learn more about or take part in this project check out the “What I LOVE About Being QUEER” Tumblr and book. If you have time, make sure to check out more of Vivek Shraya’s amazing work.

Vancouver Queer Film Festival

For 11 days, from August 16th until the 26th 2012, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival brings the very best in queer independent cinema from around the world to Vancouver. As the city’s second largest film festival, they privilege creative innovation and audience experience.

Each summer, this celebrated event brings people together to watch incredible films, talk to filmmakers and artists, engage in scintillating discussions, experience unexpected performances and paint the town pink!

For more information about the Festival visit