Submitted by gillian.edwards on Tue, 10/11/2016 - 10:46am
The Campaign for Positive Space seeks to create a more welcoming place for all those who study, work and live at the University of Calgary. The Campaign raises awareness of and addresses discrimination and harassment based on sexual and gender diversity and challenges the patterns of silence that continue to marginalize bisexuals, gays, lesbians and transgendered individuals.
The Campaign for Positive Space is intended to help create a campus that is free of discrimination on the basis of sexual and gender identity. It is also aimed at encouraging a widespread and visible commitment to welcoming sexual and gender diversity, making talk of diversity more open and less unusual. Often, efforts to do so have centered on criticism of policies, behaviours, and attitudes that marginalize. This campaign takes an affirmative, positive approach.
Show your support for the Positive Space Campaign by displaying a sticker in your space. Contact Andrea Berbic at firstname.lastname@example.org for your sticker today!
Treat homophobia and transgendered discrimination as seriously as you would racial discrimination or other forms of sexual harassment and act on them.
Let others know that innuendos, jokes, and teasing based on sexual and gender diversity are unacceptable to you.
Support campus anti-discrimination efforts, e.g., the harassment policy and procedures, equity initiatives, and educational seminars.
Support bisexual, gay, lesbian or transgendered activities and organizations on campus (e.g., Q Centre, Women's Resource Centre).
Report vandalism, threats or violence against bisexuals, gays, lesbians or transgendered to Campus Security (403-220-5333) or the ODEPD (403-220-4439)
Be supportive of someone who is "coming out."
Don't assume that everyone is heterosexual.
Identify homophobia, heterosexism and transgendered discrimination as the problem, not a person's sexuality or gender identity.
Think about the similarities and differences between homophobia and transgendered discrimination and other forms of prejudice and discrimination (e.g., racism, sexism and ageism).
Consider the experiences of bisexual, gay, lesbian or transgendered people on campus.
Think about how sexual and gender prejudice affects your same-gender friendships and your cross-gender friendships.
There are many ways to educate oneself about discrimination and harassment based on gender and sexual diversity:
- Attend workshops on sexual and gender diversity.
- Read books and other educational material that provides accurate and up-to-date information about bi-sexual, gay, lesbian and transgendered issues. Check Taylor Family Digital Library for useful books and videos.
- See films; attend special events focused on bisexual, gay, lesbian or transgendered issues.
- Integrate bisexual, gay, lesbian or transgendered issues and relevant print/audio-visual materials into classroom curriculum.
- Support the visibility of bisexual, gay lesbian, queer or transgendered people in your classroom, workplace and organization.
- Provide literature in places where it is easily accessible.
- Keep a list of relevant resources to share with others.
- Attend workshops on sexual and gender diversity.
Webster’s dictionary defines “privilege” as the right or immunity granted as an advantage or favour to some but not to others. Heterosexual privilege confers unearned and unchallenged advantages and rewards on heterosexuals solely as a result of their sexual orientation.
Heterosexual privilege takes many forms:
- Showing affection in public safely and comfortably, without fear of harassment or violence
- Openly talking about one’s partner and relationships to others without considering the consequences
- Benefiting from societal “normalcy”: the assumption that heterosexual individuals and relationships are valid, healthy and non-deviant
- Assuming that all people and relationships are heterosexual, unless otherwise known
- Not facing rejection from one’s family and friends because of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity
- Easily accessing positive role models and media images for one’s gender identity and sexual orientation
- Not being asked to speak on behalf of all heterosexuals
- Using gender specific pronouns when referring to one’s spouse or partner without discomfort or fear of reprisal
- Having automatic recognition of one’s spouse as next-of-kin in emergencies
- Easily selecting print or viewing materials in which heterosexuality is the predominantly reflected orientation
- Having families similar to one’s own represented in children’s literature
- Raising children without fear that they will be rejected or harassed by peers because of their parents’ sexual orientation or gender identities
- Receiving support and validation from a religious community
- Not risking being denied employment, housing or other services because of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity
- Not being seen as needing therapy to “cure” one’s sexual orientation or gender expression
Adapted from UBC’s Equity Office’s “Recognizing Heterosexism and Homophobia”