A Purple Rainbow at Toronto Pride

This piece was originally published in the Engineering in the News section of the website of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering at the University of Toronto. Thanks to Terry Lavender for all the help with editing! 

U of T Engineering purple was prominent among the rainbow of colours on display at the 33rd annual Toronto Pride parade on June 30, as Engineering students, faculty, staff and supporters – including the Lady Godiva Memorial Bnad (sic) – proudly marched behind their float.

The U of T Engineering student organization, LGBTQ and Allies in Science & Engineering (LGBTQase), joined forces with the Blue and Gold Committee (the Engineering Society’s spirit committee) to create the float. LGBTQase also worked with the University of Toronto’s Sexual and Gender Diversity Office (SGDO) to organize campus-wide celebrations in the days leading up to the annual parade.

The Blue and Gold Committee continued the engineering tradition of encouraging people to dye themselves purple before the march, while LGBTQase organized tie-dying of t-shirts in rainbow colours at its two ‘Tie-Dye ’till you Drop’ events.

The float, which represented Finn and Lady Rainicorn, characters from the popular animated TV show Adventure Time, was a communal effort. The idea for the float was brainstormed and voted on by LGBTQase and Blue and Gold Committee members in various executive meetings. Both organizations then invited the engineering and U of T community at large to participate in the building of the float.

“The SGDO, Blue and Gold Committee, Lady Godiva Memorial Bnad, faculty members in Engineering, countless students and individuals just wanting to get involved all deserve a gigantic thank you for their efforts, as do the members and executive team at LGBTQase and Blue and Gold who planned and attended our events,” said LGBTQase Co-president Teresa Hulinska. “Perhaps most importantly, we could not have done half of what we did without the incredible financial support from the Alumni Association. This was definitely a community effort and everyone’s vision and contribution made this pride phenomenal.”

Founded in September 2011, this is LGBTQase’s second year participating in Pride festivities. It hopes to increase its participation in Pride events as well as other U of T and city events throughout the year, Hulinska said.

LGBTQase enjoys support from other campus student groups and continues to collaborate with them to increase the presence of engineering and science communities in the LGBTQ scene and vice versa. “There are so many ways to spread love, acceptance, awareness and representation of LGBTTIQQ2SAA people and issues, and Pride is a time to do all of these things in a very celebratory, positive and highly visual way,” Hulinska said. “Most of all, this is really a chance to allow people who want to be a part of this to participate, and we should make sure we are extending this opportunity to as many people as possible.”

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