My name is Cicely Belle Blain and I’m a third year Modern European Studies and Russian student from London, UK. I’m a Global Lounge Community Animator, Vice President of the British Club of UBC, founder of the Celebrating Women at UBC initiative and an editor at your trusty alternative student press. I’m into British history, body positivity, Instagram (@cicelybelle_xo), dinosaurs, Picasso, red wine and queer stuff.
Throughout high school and my first two years at UBC, my passion for justice in its many forms was largely unhoused. In the summer of 2014, I was employed by one of the only departments at UBC that I feel both aligns with my politics and respects my identity: Access and Diversity, or more, accurately, CampOUT!. CampOUT! is a social justice-y leadership camp for queer, trans* and allied youth from BC and the Yukon. It is also a wonderful whirlwind of magic, tears, allyship, solidarity, safety and rainbow glitter.
Under the supervision of an amazing human who has helped to shape my activist identity over the past two years, I participated in the coming together of an experience that profoundly impacted the lives of 60 young people. The responsibility was great but the reward life-changing. Through queer and trans* sharing spaces I was exposed to intersections I had never considered, to heart-wrenching stories of discrimination and violence towards our community and to the suffering of young queer people growing up in a world that has no time or space for them. But I was also exposed to hope, to solidarity, to allyship and to validation.
They sparked a light within me that will never be put out.
To me, CampOUT! represents a gargantuan turning point in my life, an immense validation of my queer femme identity and a very, very bouncy springboard into a future of radical social change.