Students get decked-out in pink against homophobia

By Mashoka Maimona

Pink tees dotted Carleton University’s campus on Monday to celebrate Day of Pink, as students participated in a campaign to purge the campus of homophobia, said a co-ordinator of a Carleton organization which advocates gender and sexual equality.

Two Day of Pink participants: Gillian Kengis and Kelsey Ganske

“Diversity is not limited to gender identity or sexual orientation – we’re celebrating diversity as a whole. Everyone on Carleton’s campus should feel safe,” said Mike Wiseman, a co-ordinator for the Carleton’s GLBTQ Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity.

“(Day of Pink) is a reminder for students that there is a campus for them that is a safe and productive community,” said Wiseman.

The international day against discrimination and bullying was sparked by a homophobic act of violence three years ago in Halifax, N.S. after a student at Central Kings Rural High School was threatened for wearing a pink shirt.

The sea of pink that poured into the school the next day with supporters donning pink shirts has turned into an international day of awareness that GLBTQ Carleton has adopted as their own campaign of solidarity.

Carleton’s own unfortunate act of homophobia earlier this year – the sullying of the residence door of a female student with homophobic graffiti – has prompted the sexual and gender identity centre to organize their own Day of Pink, Wiseman said.

“Generally homophobia that we witness on campus is not coming from malicious intent,” he said.

“It’s years of ignorance that the government hasn’t taken the opportunity to erase through awareness campaigns.”

These awareness campaigns must be implemented in high schools to ensure that university campuses can be open forums for conversation – where students can come away feeling accepted, said Wiseman.

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Students balance stress with furry friends

By Melanie Karalis

Rob Cook and his roommate wanted to make life in their apartment more entertaining. Joshua Dagg thought it was just going to be a few months. Carolyn Cameron got what she always longed for by accident.

Amidst busy university life, some students want to fill a void that only one thing can fill: a pet.

“A lot of students have the inclination to have a pet around, especially if they were used to the company back home,” said Tara Jackson from the Ottawa Humane Society.

Animal living in a university home

A kitten was the answer for Cook. His roommate bought a kitten to keep things interesting in their apartment in the Byward Market.

“I just recently realized I own a cat with another man,” Cook admitted with a laugh.

“It’s not a matter of if you’re a student or not, but if you can take on the responsibilities that owning a pet comes with,” said Alison Cross, manager of media relations for the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

If students want a pet, Cross said they should consider adopting a shelter animal, because they are the most in need.

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Carleton students endure rain and cold for the homeless

By Mitch Goldenberg

Despite rain, mud and freezing temperatures, three Carleton University students slept outside on campus Sunday night to raise awareness for homelessness and funds for two local charities aiding the homeless and at-risk youth.

“If everyone does their own little part, our community can keep getting better,” said participant Eric Berrigan, a fourth-year business student.

The Five Days for the Homeless campaign kicked off Sunday and despite a tough first night, Berrigan said he and his fellow participants are in high spirits and ready for four more nights.

The shelter where three Carleton students will be living for five days

On the first night, the group was forced to relocate their tent due to muddy grounds, and had to huddle together for warmth as they tried to sleep, Berrigan said.

“We are only here for five days though, and there are people that live outside all the time,” he said.

Berrigan, with fellow students Jessica Karam and Michael Fleming, hope to raise $5,000 this week for Rideau Street Youth Enterprises and Operation Come Home, and are sacrificing their personal comfort to do so.

“We brought a pillow and sleeping bag, and everything else, including shelter and food, is being donated by random people to us,” said Karam.

“We are not mimicking being homeless, but rather trying to tell people how they can help,” she said.

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Carleton’s Muslim Student Association uses Islam Awareness Week to dispell myths

By Michael Monette

Muslim students at Carleton University are striving this week to create a meaningful dialogue between students of different faiths and creeds.

Islam Awareness Week at Carleton runs from March 15 to 19. The event is part of an international movement to educate the public on the religion of Islam and the beliefs held by its followers – as well as clear up common misconceptions.

“The whole idea is to start conversations,” said Najeeb Siddique, president of the Muslim Student Association at Carleton.

“It’s to start a dialogue where people can actually understand Islam from the source – from what it means to us, not from what someone else thinks it means to us.”

The Muslim Student Association, the group organizing the event, has more than 1,200 members, Siddique said. He said the association serves Muslim students at Carleton by providing prayer space and dietary items, among other things.

Dispelling Misconceptions

Siddique said one of the goals of Islam Awareness Week is to dispel many of the misconceptions surrounding the Islamic religion and those who practice it, such as the view of Muslims as terrorists and the perception of the hijab – the head scarf worn by some Muslim women – as oppressive.

“Incomplete understanding is the clear cause of misconception. People might read something and they’ll leave it at that,” Siddique said. “They will never ask ‘what’s the truth behind this?’ ”

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The ubiquitous morning perk

By: Serena Calder, Paul Clarke and Tomek Sysak

Photo Credits:
In order of appearance from start to finish, left to right.

Adrian Murray, Paul Clarke, Amelia McLean, Gillian Kengis, Meg Marshall, Maria Marano, Robert Ozimkowski, Brandon Ashton McGee, Calvin Tong , Coraa St. Pierre Jones

Paul Clarke, Amelia McLean, Meg Marshall, Maria Marano

New Teeth rock Zaphod’s

By Melanie Karalis

Between the forgotten set lists and late sound checks, three university students managed to put on a rock `n` roll show at Zaphod Beeblebrox on Friday night and a good one at that.

New Teeth, the self proclaimed rock `n` roll dance band, got the sweaty audience moving as they played music from their new album, Cold City, that was released last month.

Looking through his backpack before the show, bassist Matt Gilmour turned to the lead singer.

“I forgot my stage tuner,” he said.

“Gilmour, Gilmour, Gilmour,” said leader singer Lucas MacKenzie, while shaking his head.

“Don’t worry, I won’t forget for Toronto,” said Gilmour.

New Teeth made their way to Toronto after Friday’s performance to play at Canada Music Week, a festival that showcases over 700 bands in five days. It’s not surprising they were on the bill considering the band’s recent attention from blogs, not to mention a feature about them in the Ottawa Citizen.

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Queer street youth grapple with issues heterosexual counterparts do not, experts say

By Lauren Mitsuki

Sue Pihlainen talks of being liberated on the day she summoned the courage to come out to her family as a lesbian.

But among the gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual homeless youth she works with today, emancipating coming-out stories are few and far between, she said.

A step out of the closet can turn into a step onto the streets for many queer youth, leaving them grappling with issues their heterosexual homeless counterparts do not face, experts say.

“Some parents are very proud of their kids when they come out, but for the most part, that’s not the reaction,” said Pihlainen, who co-ordinates the Evelyn Horne Young Women’s Emergency Shelter in Ottawa.

“Parents have a really hard time with the people their kids are turning into and they kick them out.”

Pihlainen said that while research indicates between 25 and 40 per cent of homeless youth identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, her experience tells her the number is larger.

She said that on any given day, lesbian, transgender and bisexual women occupy at least a handful of the shelter’s 30 rooms.

Pihlainen said these young women often come from conservative households or families that uphold “right-wing” religious beliefs.

She also said some parents try a “tough love” approach, booting their teenagers out of the house until they’re ready to change.

“One of our trans youth that came in was told that if she wanted to return home, she would need to dress like a boy and act like a boy,” said Pihlainen.

“So, she wasn’t going to be going home.”

Pihlainen added that she has seen this approach appear to work on occasion, when youth return home pretending to be straight “because it’s too hard for them to be who they really are.”

Jeff Karabanow, a social work professor at Dalhousie University, said his research and clinical work indicate that the issues queer homeless youth face stem from the way they fall into street life.

Karabanow said heterosexual street youth generally have a better understanding of “what went wrong.”

Queer youth, on the other hand, often end up on the streets still puzzled by their circumstances and their family’s inability to accept them, he said.

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