To celebrate Pride Month, we are recognizing the achievements and experiences of the A&S LGBTQ2S+ community and — as allies and community members alike — we are working to build on a more welcoming, inclusive and representative community.
As president of NewPRIDE, Nkem Ogbonna is committed to making sure the New College student group truly has something for everyone.
Though just three years old, the club has already held events that highlight the 2SLGBTQ+ community in academia — including a panel discussion on being trans in STEM — and raised money to buy gender-affirming clothing for queer students. It’s run educational events with the AIDS Committee of Toronto , and held community-oriented events such as sign-making for Pride, 2SLGBTQ+ movie nights and community conversation circles.
“My role is to ensure queer students at New College have a space to build community, learn and mobilize,” says Ogbonna, who earned their honours bachelor of science with a major in health and disease and minors in immunology and physiology in 2020.
“As a Black, queer student, it has been especially important to my role to ensure the functioning of NewPRIDE is inherently anti-colonial, centres queer and trans Black/Indigenous folx as well as queer and trans people of colour.”
Grassroots student groups like NewPRIDE are key because they help keep 2SLGBTQ+ initiatives true and focused on the community without being watered down, they say.
“During my time at U of T, I have seen the most radical changes come from queer, trans, Black, Indigenous and people of colour student-run initiatives.”