C/O Christian Braun

The Silhouette: Please introduce yourself. 

Wil Fujarczuk: My name is Wil Fujarczuk. I use he/him pronouns. I currently manage the sexual violence prevention education program and the sexual violence prevention and response office, which are under the equity and inclusion office. My alter-ego is Miss Unita Assk and she’s a consent-educating drag queen. I use Unita to open the doors into what can be a really tough conversation around sexual violence and to provide some queer representation. 

C/O Christian Braun

What inspired you to enter this role?  

Fujarczuk: I had a big moment in grad school that flipped my thinking . . . I took a course on gender, peace-building and human security . . . After the course ended, some classmates invited me to San Jose, the capital city, to write anti-street harassment messages. I noticed all the men who came to speak to us came to speak to me. Not any of my women classmates. It was a moment of recognizing what it means to use your privilege for others. I started to learn more about sexual harassment and sexual violence more broadly and these experiences really gave me the opportunity to think about: “What’s my role as a cis, queer man in this work? What does it mean to use the social location I occupy, the privileges I have, the oppression I face, all these pieces?” It’s also allowed me to reflect on my own sense of self, my relationship to my gender. I think I’ve become a better human and a better man because of doing this work, grounding myself in feminism and learning from people who have been doing this work for so long.  

What inspired you to start doing drag, particularly at McMaster?  

Fujarczuk: I know folks in the corporate world who are my age who are not open about their sexuality at work. We know the stats are even higher for trans folks in workplaces. That bring[s] into question: “Is this a safe place for me? Do I have to compromise certain elements of myself to be “professional”?” Part of it is demonstrating to students that — no, you don’t.  

For me, it’s also about queer representation on campus. I think of myself as an awkward, queer, scrawny first-year: had I known that there was a staff member who was a part-time drag queen on campus [and] how that would impact me. It’s about that representation and visibility. It’s about making this conversation a little bit more approachable. At Welcome Week, [it’s about] having Unita present and that level of visibility. And I’ll actually be hosting Mac Welcome this year, which is very exciting.  

“I think of myself as an awkward, queer, scrawny first-year: had I known that there was a staff member who was a part-time drag queen on campus [and] how that would impact me. It’s about that representation and visibility. It’s about making this conversation a little bit more approachable.”

Wil Fujarczuk (aka Unita Assk), Sexual Violence prevention Education Manager

Part of the idea with Unita was also to focus on strengths. At grad school, we learned about negative peace and positive peace. Negative peace is the absence of war, the absence of violence. Positive peace is the presence of reconciliation, all these other beautiful things. I think about that in terms of sexual violence. Yes, it’s important to talk about what we don’t want: a world without sexual violence. But, yes, it’s important to talk about what we do want . . . healthy sexuality, healthy relationships, queer representation and people being comfortable with who they are. So Unita’s taking it out of this first peace into this peace around: What do we want? What is the world we want to build?  

“Yes, it’s important to talk about what we don’t want: a world without sexual violence. But, yes, it’s important to talk about what we do want . . . healthy sexuality, healthy relationships, queer representation and people being comfortable with who they are. So Unita’s taking it out of this first peace into this peace around: What do we want? What is the world we want to build?”

Wil Fujarczuk (aka Unita Assk), Sexual Violence prevention Education Manager

What advice would you give to your younger self or incoming 2SLGBTQIA+ students at McMaster?  

Fujarczuk: The first thing that comes to mind is stealing Priyanka’s words — winner of Canada’s Drag Race season one — just be gay. But I also know that journey of coming to where I am was [a] part of it. I couldn’t just be gay because we grow up in, not just heteronormative, but homophobic families, cultures, societies and schools. It’s also self-compassion, not “just be gay”. It doesn’t mean letting myself off the hook for everything. It means acknowledging what’s going on in my life. I’m doing what I can and that I don’t have to always give it my all.

Also, find people who embrace you for who you are. I know that this isn’t new but there’s a truth to it. Sometimes we bend ourselves into a different shape to accommodate what we think people expect of us. Then the folks who might be drawn to us in our full, true, authentic selves might not be drawn to us. We miss that connection. By having that self-compassion, by being yourself as much as we’re able, I think we can draw folks in who celebrate us. That’s key. 

Image courtesy of © Christian Braun Email: brauncr2@mcmaster.ca

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