Get REAL Laurier

Have you heard of Get REAL Laurier? They can be found on campus sporting their neon pink hats and they are here to give homophobia the boot. I caught up with co-coordinators Maggie and Stacey to find out more about the Get REAL movement.

What is Get REAL Laurier?

Maggie:  Get REAL is a non-profit movement of university students across Canada who speak to high schools and middle schools about unlearning homophobia and embracing the difference in everyone.  We are a group of young people who want to stand up against homophobia to help change the culture surrounding homophobia language.  We wanted to bring this movement to the KW region, as we felt that there was a lack of discussion around homophobia and because it would be very impactful, not only at Laurier, but at the high schools in KW.    

How did you get involved with the Get REAL movement?

Maggie:  I got involved with Get REAL when I saw one of the videos that they had created called Sports are For Everyone, and it really caught my eye.  It was something that I have had personal experience with, and I researched it a little more and decided to get involved!  I messaged Stacey to see if she was on board with me, and then got in contact with the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Get REAL, Chris.  We got the ball rolling in November last year, and were able to have a successful launch this past September! 

Stacey:  I got involved when Maggie messaged me showing me the athlete video that was done by Western athletes, I loved the video and so did she, and we believed Laurier need something like this. Both of us being student athletes and being in the LGBT community we thought this was a great idea to bring it to Laurier. We got in contact with the founders of Get REAL, and having been building a foundation here at Laurier ever since.

How can students get involved?

Maggie:  Students can easily get involved by liking us on our Facebook page, which will keep them updated on all the recent information about what is happening on campus!  They can also email me to get put onto the email list.  The time commitment is as little or as great as you would like, we are always looking for new members to join us.  This movement is LGBT and ally friendly, meaning that you do not have to identify as LGBT to be apart of Get REAL.  Anyone can get involved, and the group of individuals we have right now are amazing and friendly, creating great atmosphere. 

What do you do on campus?                 

Maggie:  So far this year we have been in the Concourse doing promotion and educating students about Get REAL.  We just recently had our launch party and had an amazing turnout and a super fun night where we raised more than $300 that will go straight back into the movement and educating students.  We have a lot of cool plans up our sleeves for next semester, so keep an eye out because you won’t want to miss them! 

What is one thing you want students to know about your organization?

Maggie:  If there is one thing I want people to take away from our organization, it is to be more careful about the words that you use.  Often, people don’t think about the meaning behind words before they say them.  So, next time you go to say “that’s so gay” think twice about what it actually means, and if there is a word that fits better in the phrase.  99% of the time there is.  You never know the impact that something that small can have on someone. 

Stacey:  Personally I want students to know that this organization is not about preaching to the youth about homophobia, its about connecting with them, sharing our personal stories, and letting them know that we are a safe group of students, and an outlet for those that need it.

Also, that Get REAL is not only for those that identify themselves as LGBT, it is for those who know someone, have met someone, or even know of someone else that identifies with LGBT and wants them to know they support them, and will try to unlearn the homophobic language. 

We are proud allies of the LGBT community and we LOVE what the Get REAL Laurier group is doing on and off campus. Don't forget to follow them on Facebook or email Maggie if you want to get involved!