New bursary at BU supports 2SLGBTQIA+ students

June 28, 2021

Headshots of nine people are show in three rows of three
Members of the Gender and Women's Studies program at Brandon University. From left to right, top to bottom: Dr. Corinne Mason, Dr. Lorraine Mayer, Dr. Etsuko Yasui, Dr. Ariane Hanemaayer, Dr. Serena Petrella, Dr. Caroline Ehman, Catherine Mattes, Dr. Barbara Rose, and Dr. Kelly Saunders.

Pride Month at Brandon University (BU) closes with the addition of a new bursary from the Gender & Women’s Studies Program (GWS) to support 2SLGBTQIA+ students.

With a $10,000 contribution from the Margaret Laurence Endowment Fund, GWS at BU has established a new bursary for students who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) which will fund an annual award of approximately $450 each year.

“Studies have shown that 2SLGBTQIA+ people in Canada face discrimination, high rates of violence, including sexualized violence, and negative outcomes in terms of health and education,” said Dr. Serena Petrella, outgoing Chair of the GWS program at BU. “This award recognizes the structural pressure and marginalization that these students face. Our intention is to create a culture of affirmation for 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and encourage our students to engage in social awareness initiatives on campus and in our community. We want these students to find success in their studies here at BU and in their future opportunities.”

It is estimated that about one million Canadians, about four per cent of people ages 15 and older, self-identify as belonging to a sexually diverse population. In addition, an estimated 75,000 of those ages 15 or older self-identify as transgender or non-binary. According to Statistics Canada, 30 per cent of 2SLGBTQIA+ students have experienced discrimination at post-secondary institutions.

“Our students often come to Gender and Women’s Studies knowing that they will find a safe space in our classrooms, and so we see up close the homophobia and transphobia they experience, said Dr. Corinne Mason, a queer non-binary professor who will assume the role of GWS Chair in July. “We recognize the systemic barriers they face in access to education, employment, housing, healthcare, and support services. Assistance in the form of the bursary will lift some of the financial burden they face in completing their degrees. This bursary is one example of our program’s ongoing commitment to affirming sexual and gender diverse communities.”