Over the past several months, Humber’s LGBTQ+ Resource Centre has been finding new ways to virtually deliver programs and services to students. It’s been a particularly challenging time for 2SLGBTQ+ students, and Centre staff continue to engage and support them.
With Pride Month now underway, Matthew Travill, student diversity and inclusion initiatives coordinator for Humber’s LGBTQ+ Resource Centre, says there will be similar programming as previous years, but in an online format.
Currently, the LGBTQ+ Resource Centre has more than 15 events and initiatives scheduled, including pride-themed crafting, discussions on how pride remains political, and the annual Pride Speaker Series. “Students can expect to gain some new perspectives from attending our events,” says Travill. “We are aiming to lift up community voices that often don’t get heard in larger post-secondary institutions.”
There were a few priorities for the Resource Centre as they developed their Pride Month events and initiatives. The first was safety. “We recognize the challenges that some students may be facing during these times. Students may not necessarily be ‘out’ at home, and connecting with the Resource Centre at home could be dangerous for them,” says Travill. The Resource Centre will offer its programs on platforms such as Instagram and Microsoft Teams so students can engage with them on their own time in a safe environment.
The other priority was representation. “We wanted to ensure that our events were diverse and inclusive to those who aren’t always welcomed by others by hosting events that deliberately showcase the diversity of the 2SLGBTQ+ Community and their experiences,” says Travill.
Program Coordinator of Social and Community Services, Linda Hill says, “students who have found a sense of community in the Resource Centre would miss that human connection and safe space. By creating these events, students can participate ‘out’ or anonymously, which has the potential to enhance participation in positive ways for everyone wanting to connect.”
In addition to directing students to services like counselling, Travill said, “students are welcome to connect with the staff of the 2SLGBTQ+ Resource Centre, like himself, on a one-to-one basis if they wish.”
“Reaching out to our friends and family of the 2SLGBTQ+ community can go a long way,” says Hill. “Maintaining that social connection helps ease the isolation many feel during these times.”
The signature event for the Resource Centre is their Pride Speaker Series. In previous years, the discussion themes would align with the theme of Pride Toronto’s celebrations. This year, however, Humber is hosting the speaker series online with the theme of ‘Supporting 2LGBTQ+ Students’. Speakers include academics, advocates, allies, and members of the 2LGBTQ+ community.
Moving forward, Travill is optimistic that the Pride Speaker Series encourages people to further their knowledge of the 2SLGBTQ+ Community.
“Going online has its own unique challenges, but also provides the opportunity for people to become allies and do their own learning about the 2SLGBTQ+ community,” says Travill.
Resource Centre staff also have relationships with external 2SLGBTQ+ community organizations that offer additional support. Additional information can be requested by contacting the Resource Centre at email@example.com.
The LGBTQ+ Resource Centre’s Pride Month Event Calendar can be found here.