Controversy arose when UBC permitted anti–SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) speaker Jenn Smith to rent space at a campus facility to hold a talk in June.
Other local educational institutions, such as Langley’s Trinity Western University and New Westminster’s Douglas College, had previously cancelled events booked by Smith after finding out about the content of the events.
Despite cancellation requests from various individuals and groups due to concerns about transphobia and hate speech, the university permitted the event to proceed on the basis of free speech, though it did not endorse the views of Smith.
In response, Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) rejected UBC’s application to participate in the Vancouver Pride parade.
However, the VPS will meet with UBC this month after the university’s booking and rental policy is reviewed by the board of governors.
In the meantime, days after the new school year kicked off on September 3, UBC is holding its third annual Pride event today (September 6), as part of its Positive Space campaign, which was launched in 2002 to raise awareness and visibility of LGBT people.
The celebration will be held at the Point Grey campus from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Fairview Commons (on a grassy field next to the Earth Sciences Building).
The evening will include voguing lessons, drag performances, food trucks and beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), games, slam poetry, storytime, craft and sparkle stations, a queer library, and more.
Attendees can also help the winner of a design competition, Tiffany Wu, fold 2,000 cranes to complete an art installation that will form a ceiling over the event.
Full details are available at UBC’s UTown website.