BRANDON, MB – A professor at Brandon University (BU) is spearheading a new initiative called Positive Space with the goal of making all people on campus feel respected and supported, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
Dr. Corinne L. Mason says Positive Space has proven successful at universities across Canada in raising the visibility and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, two-spirit, queer and questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTTQQIA*) issues and concerns, while also establishing safer and more welcoming spaces for students, staff, and faculty.
“We are taking the first steps in a long journey,” says Dr. Mason, Assistant Professor in Gender and Women’s Studies, “towards inclusivity and affirmation by asking ourselves questions about the current ‘climate’ for all individuals of all genders and sexualities at Brandon University, and how we can do better.”
Rainbow Resource Center (Winnipeg) provided an introductory workshop attended by more than 40 faculty, staff, and administration to broaden their understandings of gender and sexuality. Participants learned how to identify and resist homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and heterosexism from a personal, social, cultural, and systemic framework.
“In the coming months, we will be implementing further training sessions in collaboration with both the Rainbow Resource Center and the Sexuality Education Resource Center in Brandon, and I hope that this encourages new University policies,” says Dr. Mason, “including reformulating registration and counselling forms for students, creating more equitable and inclusive hiring practices, moving towards gender neutral and affirming language, and creating safer spaces across campus, including gender-neutral single-stall washrooms.”
“The Positive Space campaign is a long-term project that builds on the strengths of Brandon University and will be a valuable and valued part of our community,” says BU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Gervan Fearon. “I encourage everyone to take part in this campaign and other training opportunities which support the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion of all students, staff and faculty.”
Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Corinne L. Mason
Gender and Women’s Studies