Student told his outfit at Pride was disrespectful
Campus Pride week may have come and gone at the University of Ottawa, but for Cody Boast, a third-year political science student, the incident that occurred on March 4 left him feeling little pride in his campus community.
Boast attended a karaoke night at campus bar 1848 in support of his LGBTQ friends and was allegedly targeted for wearing too much pink. According to Boast, Amy Hammett, who has held several positions in student government including a position as the 2011-2012 vp student affairs at the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), asked Boast to change because the clothes he had on were deemed offensive.
“I brought some friends with me and I thought I’d go to the very first [event] and I’d crush out wearing pink to support the cause and show some spirit,” said Boast.
“I [was dressed] in all pink; I had on pink shorts, a pink shirt, and a pink hat. As we entered 1848, before we even sat down—we went to the bar to get a beer—and as we were ordering, Amy Hammett approached [us] and said that I was wearing too much pink.”
Boast, who identifies as heterosexual, says he was there only to show support for the LGBTQ community, and was surprised that the incident occurred; nonetheless, he heeded Hammett’s orders.
“I didn’t want to fight with her, so I changed,” said Boast.
“[She told me] it’s like dressing up like Bob Marley at a Black History Month event,” he continued.
Boast isn’t the only one angered by what occurred. Riyadh Nazerally, a friend of Boast and vp info anglo at the Communication Student Association, spoke to the Fulcrum and said he feels the SFUO is becoming too politicized.
“This is just another example of the SFUO being hyper-political for basically no reason. And the reason that I complained about it in the first place is [because] too much political correctness kind of fuels the controversy you’re trying to defeat,” said Nazerally.
“The fact that we have a governing body that decides what we should be angry about is the part that upsets me,” he continued.
Hammett declined an interview and was unable to comment via email, but the allegations against her were contested by vp student affairs Kate Hudson in an email correspondence with the Fulcrum.
“Cody Boast chose to attend the event dressed in all pink with a lei, a boa, fuzzy bunny ears, and carrying a fairy flute and wand,” wrote Hudson.
Hudson explained that Hammett is an acquaintance of Boast’s, which is why Hammett approached him and discussed with him how dressing as a bunny-fairy at a non-costume pride event gave the impression that he was mocking the event and perpetuating the homophobic stereotype that all campus pride events include people dressing in costume.
Hudson maintains that Boast was not forced to change his attire and that some students had voiced their concerns to her about Boast’s clothing choice.
“She [Hammett] explained that some students at the event had expressed their concerns [about] this. Cody chose not to change his outfit and was never told that he was required to; the conversation ended there,” wrote Hudson.
Hudson’s description of events doesn’t coincide with one witness’s account.
Kanon Clifford, a third-year political science student with a minor in law, stated that Boast was forced to switch clothing.
“I was actually right beside him when two girls approached him,” he said. “They made him change right away.”
While the SFUO states that there is no dress code at Pride Week events and that students aren’t barred from participating because of clothing choice, Boast believes otherwise and is concerned about how political the campus is becoming.
“I started a bit of an online campaign where we began to realize that [our] campus has gotten way too political,” said Boast.
“When you’re not allowed to wear pink to a pride event because you’re straight and [you’re compared to someone who would dress as] Bob Marley [at a] Black History Month event, it’s ridiculous.”