New audio walking tour in Regina explores queer, trans stories
Audio walking tour explores queer, trans stories
Evie Ruddy, creator of the Queering the Queen City walking tour that users can access via a smartphone app, stands near the Regina Public Library next to Victoria Park. BRANDON HARDER / Regina Leader-Post
Belonging is the key theme of an audio tour that walks people through the struggles and stories of Regina’s queer and transgender community. Starting in Victoria Park, “Queering the Queen City” is a 90 minute self-led walking tour that guides listeners to seven stops in Regina’s downtown, including the Regina Public Library, SGI and the Heritage Community Association.
“Everybody can relate to wanting to belong and wanting to be themselves without harm or hindrance and wanting to be themselves with support, and that is a running theme throughout this walking tour,” said Evie Ruddy, producer of the walking tour.
“In every single story you will find the theme of queer and trans folks just wanting to be themselves.”
Ruddy said they received the idea for the tour from Claire Carter, assistant professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the U of R.
“Claire and I sat down and we brainstormed some ideas about the stories around queer issues and trans experiences that we would want to share,” said Ruddy. “Then we thought of places that would be suitable to tell those stories, so it’s actually driven by the stories and not by the places.”
Ruddy hopes people will take the tour with an open mind to the experiences of some of the city’s queer and trans folks, and that they will listen with empathy and understanding.
“You’re standing in Victoria Park and you have your headphones in, and you’re listening to these stories told by queer and trans people in Regina, and nobody else around you can hear the stories, so everyone else is going about their daily lives,” said Ruddy.
“It almost amplifies the invisibility of queer folks because you’re secretly listening to these stories and these voices that other people might not be aware of.”
Ruddy believes the queer and trans community also stands to gain something from taking this audio walking tour.
“If they take the walking tour, they might see themselves in some of the stories and come to see that they are part of a wider community of people who share similar experiences with them,” they said.
“It’s an opportunity for the queer community who might be of a younger generation to learn some history about the rights that were fought for and that they benefit from today and to not take those rights for granted, and that it’s still important to keep up that fight,” they said.
Ruddy hopes the tour will help listeners gain a “greater understanding and appreciation for the experiences of people who are different from you.”
To take the walking tour, download the free app izi.TRAVEL, grab your headphones and head to Victoria Park. The app uses GPS to run the tour, so make sure your location services are turned on. Search for “Queering the Queen City” in the app, and follow the instructions the tour provides.
The tour was launched last Sunday with funding from a U of R grant and UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity. The goal was to engage Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2018 participants to explore the city, but the tour will be available after the congress is over.