Jason Kingsley named an Avenue Top 40 Under 40
We caught up with Jason to celebrate his accomplishment, talk about his passion for teaching, and discuss Bow Valley College’s progress in becoming a more accepting community.
Bow Valley College: You’re president and executive producer of Calgary Pride and a founder of Kingsley Creative as well as Collectivity. What draws you to working at Bow Valley College despite your busy schedule?
Jason Kingsley: I am passionate about learning, and as someone who did not return to post-secondary until his late 20s, I have seen the value of education in my own life. A big part of what I value is giving back to a community, and teaching is an opportunity for me to do that as a career.
Bow Valley College: How has working at Bow Valley College influenced your work with Calgary Pride?
Jason Kingsley: Bow Valley College has had a tremendous impact on all of my roles. Thanks to the institution, I’ve networked and learned through friends and colleagues on campus. I’ve also strengthened my curriculum for Collectivity [a consultancy that leads diversity and inclusion training, workshops, and consultations] with what I have learned writing curriculum for the event management program.
Bow Valley College: What do you enjoy about teaching?
Jason Kingsley: A big part of my passion for teaching is creating inclusion in the classroom and on campus to ensure individuals who face barriers and challenges have a space where they can be their authentic self. For this reason, in partnership with Lindsey Fiebig, one of the counsellors in Learner Success Services, I offer free diversity and inclusion workshops specific to the GSD community on campus. They are open to faculty, staff, and students, and we hold them once a semester.
Bow Valley College: How has Bow Valley College evolved to become more accepting of the GSD community?
Jason Kingsley: Bow Valley College is headed in the right direction, and has been working towards creating a more diverse and inclusive campus through its Diversity Advantage Action Plan (DAAP). Specific to the GSD community, we are seeing more faculty, staff, and students participating in on-campus workshops, and transgender-specific training to assist departments who engage with students that may use a name that is not their legal name, or alternate pronouns, for example. We saw Bow Valley College sponsor Calgary Pride for the first time in 2018, bringing greater visibility to our GSD community on campus. We are also expecting to see appropriate and updated signage for the all-gender washrooms on campus.
Bow Valley College: In the Calgary community, who are some of the people that have influenced you?
Jason Kingsley: There are so many individuals in Calgary, that have done and continue to do tremendous work. Some of the people who have influenced me over the years have been Lois Szabo, a pioneer in Calgary’s GSD community, who opened Club Carousel in 1968. It was the first nightclub owned and operated by the GSD community for the GSD community. It opened a year before homosexuality was decriminalized in Canada. Kevin Allen is another individual who has greatly influenced and inspired me. He is the Calgary Public Library’s historian in residence and founder and lead researcher of the Calgary Gay History Project, a research collective working to uncover and preserve stories from Calgary’s GSD history.
Posted on October 31
Story by Julie-Anne Cleyn, photo by Chris Bolin