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Western martial arts school funds Vancouver’s homeless LGBTQ+ youth

Nude calendar to raise money for at-risk minorities

(L – R) Tim Wong and Courtney Rice practicing for the WMAA’s core class. Photo by Lisa Tanh
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Reported by Lisa Tanh

A women-owned and operated western martial arts school in Vancouver is launching a nude 2018 calendar for the first time to support a housing program for the city’s homeless LGBTQ+ youth.

On Dec. 4, the Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly will be shipping out its 12-month calendar featuring 15 male and female students recreating full frontal nude fencing poses together from a fencing manual.

Paul Dean, a Valkyrie core program student and the co-creator of Shut Up & Sit Down, a popular YouTube channel featuring board game reviews, called the calendar a brash and lively way to get the public’s attention.

“When you want to raise money for a good cause, it never hurts to get noticed,” Dean said.

The calendar is being sold for $20, and 20 per cent of the proceeds will be donated to RainCity Housing, an organization that offers a housing program for LGBTQ+ youth.

“We made a list of charities that really fit with our values and vision – so a lot of queer-friendly places and that sort of thing,” Courtney Rice, co-founder of WMAA said. “We did a vote and RainCity won by a fair margin. Housing is such a huge issue in Vancouver and they’re one of the only places that [help] at-risk LGBT youth.”

Multifaceted acceptance

Bill Briscall, communications manager at RainCity Housing, said the organization was excited to hear they were chosen for the calendar.

“The fact that they’re queer-friendly and want to do something that shows bodies come in all shapes and sizes is wonderful,” Briscall said.

Rice said she hopes the calendar delivers the message that the WMAA has a diverse student body.

“We’ve got LGBT people, non-binary, people of colour, women and men. We’re all different but it’s fine,” Rice said.

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