Anne Campbell hasn't celebrated Pride before. This month, she'll embrace queer culture for the first time – as a queer person herself.
"This year is big for me," she said.
"In the past, Pride was just another month for me, but now that I'm embracing who I am and wanting to engage with others and celebrate that aspect of ourselves, it's exciting."
But don't take this as a coming out – she says she's coming home.
Campbell is completing Humber's new Addictions and Mental Health graduate certificate program. She always wanted to find a career where she would be able to help people. She’ll begin a master's degree in public health in September, focusing on systemic issues that impact mental health in marginalized communities.
Campbell knows first-hand how counselling and other mental health services can support individuals.
"We talk about meeting people where they are and looking inwards at ourselves. It helped me identify one of my biggest challenges and why I wasn't living authentically," she said.
She grew up in a heteronormative environment where she never felt she belonged. Campbell set her identity aside because she "didn't want to explore or consider it."
Two years ago, a personal experience changed that.
"It really woke me up to what I want and who I want to be. Realizing I'd been trying to fulfill people's expectations, coupled with what I've learned in the program, it's like a light switch was flipped," said Campbell.
To help with the process, Campbell sought counselling through the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre. She was paired with a queer-identifying counsellor she felt safe with.
"Having a queer person who has an understanding of what I'm going through played a significant role in me being more comfortable with my identity," said Campbell.
She, like many other people from the 2SLGBTQ+ community, was taught to conform to societal norms, which she calls “colouring inside the lines.”
Campbell challenges the tradition.
“There’s a boundary aspect, but gender expression and sexuality are meant to be boundless. Life is supposed to be colourful.”
The LGBTQ+ Resource Centre works to promote safer, braver, positive spaces at Humber College. While on-campus activity is limited, the Centre has moved many of its services online. You can find more information about the resources offered by the Centre here.
ERGs voluntary, employee-led groups that help foster an equitable, diverse and inclusive workplace.
The Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Taskforce launched Humber's 2SLGBTQ+ ERG, made up of employees who identify as 2SLGBTQ+, in 2020. Any employees interested in joining the ERG can email firstname.lastname@example.org