University of Regina Queer Initiative spotlights queer life on the prairies

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Series open to all

by hammad ali, Contributor

The University of Regina Queer Initiative (URQI) was established in 2007 with the goal of supporting 2SLGBTQIAP+ faculty and staff at the University of Regina. That same year, URQI also started a speaker series called Out on The Prairies with different speakers giving talks about various aspects of queer life in Saskatchewan. From the time of its inception till the recent past, there had only been periodic events followed by a few years of inactivity. Recently, URQI’s primary organizer Randal Rogers restarted the series. We got in touch with Randal Rogers to find out more.

“We reached out to a core group of professors and received a very positive response,” Rogers said. “We thus relaunched URQI in the fall of 2020, with the Out on The Prairies series as one of our core activities. So far, the response has been terrific. We have had three presentations already, and another one is scheduled for March 26.” The upcoming talk is titled Margins, featuring Morgan Moatest and Lee Stubbe. The series for the next academic year is also being planned currently.

When asked who can attend the talks, Rogers said the series is open to everyone. “We do have to be careful about security, and need those interested in attending to register ahead. But we are also trying to be as open as possible to anyone who wishes to attend. We are also always looking for presenters in the series, and welcome proposals from anyone on potential queer and trans topics of interest.”

Since the relaunching in fall 2020, the series has already had four presenters. This includes one featured off campus guest speaker, something they plan on doing every year in the future. “This year, we invited Dr. Valerie Korinek from the University of Saskatchewan for a presentation on her new book Prairie Fairies. It was a wonderful talk, and very apt for our relaunch since it focused on little-known aspects of the queer prairies history,” said Rogers. Unfortunately, there are no publicly available recordings of past presentations, but discussion is underway for the possibility of recording and sharing future talks.

“Announcements about future talks in the series always go out in emails to multiple university mailing lists. We can also be found on Twitter and Instagram by the handle @urqi4all. We are currently working on building an active social media presence and would love it if people followed us. All of our other activities are also shared via our social media,” added Rogers.

URQI is an organization for the faculty and staff at the University of Regina. They welcome all queer and trans members of the community, as well as allies, friends, and partners. The group has student representatives, and works closely with URPride, with whom they are currently collaborating on several projects. “We are also developing community partnerships. URPride and URQI sponsored a sock drive in partnership with the Imperial Court of Regina, raising over $2000 for socks for Regina citizens who are homeless or experiencing housing challenges. We hope to do an even bigger sock drive next year,” mentioned Rogers.

The next talk is schedule for March 26 and will be held over Zoom. Prior registration is needed, and more information can be found on their Twitter and Instagram pages.

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