A full crowd of supportive students, staff and community members packed the atrium at the Pictou campus of NSCC. The campus – and even some of the guests – were festooned in the colours of the rainbow, for the Pride Coffee House & Celebration.
The Monday afternoon event entailed trivia questions, and a great deal of levity in a game of drag queen bingo.
“Our main goal is to make sure that students who walk through the door have a sense of belonging,” said Bobi MacDonald, student services adviser at the Pictou campus of NSCC.
Drag queen bingo, much to the amusement of guests, was a variation on the traditional game of bingo, where numbers were called and those who matched the numbers were allowed to help two drag queens outfit NSCC faculty member John Atwater as a drag queen.
Presiding over the quixotic and wacky bingo game were Shaun McLean, starring as his alias, “Linda Langille,” and Jake Chisholm starring as “Betty-Lou Beaton” – two characters whose antics lit up the atrium with laughter.
Although there were plenty of laughs, NSCC Pictou Campus Principal David Freckelton saw it as a good step toward a serious cause. He said events like Monday’s pride events are not just important, “they are critical.”
“We serve all communities, and we should reflect that,” said Freckelton who was in attendance, during the Pride Day events. “It’s important they feel welcome, supported and safe when they are here.”
Freckelton said diversity is an important value of the college, and that he was proud of the significant crowd of students and staff who showed up to participate in the coffee house event. Freckelton also commended those who made the coffee house a reality, noting “it’s a lot of logistical work” to make an event like that take place as smoothly as it did on Monday afternoon.
Gerard Veldhoven, an LGBTQ activist, expressed his admiration of the coffee house, saying it was “absolutely wonderful to see such a diverse event” at the college.
“Hopefully this will become a yearly event. There are so many people here, and it’s such a good, responsive crowd,” said Veldhoven. “It’s great to take part in this. It raises awareness and brings communities together.”