Rainbow posters line the hallways announcing the Humber’s Gender and Sexual Diversity Committee (GSDC) is taking action.
Humber’s LGBTQ+ awareness week took place last week from April 7 to 11 and included informational booths, Pink Cupcake Day, and a Pride kick-off breakfast at the Lakeshore campus.
Linda Hill is from the School of Social and Community Services and also a member of the GSDC.
“It’s really student led, the booth initiatives, so there are students that are sitting on the pride planning team who are trying to get people involved in the parade to represent Humber this year,” she said.
Thomas Silcox-Childs, an analyst with Humber’s HR Services, has been co-chair of the GSDC for the past two years.
“The Pink Cupcake Day falls off of the International Day of Pink, which is an anti-bullying day for the LGBTQ community,” he said.
Students have been doing what they can in order to be visible and present for awareness week.
“My involvement has been contributing ideas for events throughout the week, I was at the booth at Lakeshore…and was also a greeter at the breakfast,” said Bram Zeidenberg, a 26-year-old business management student at Humber.
Silcox-Childs said the Friday breakfast is also a kick-off for Humber’s involvement in the Pride parade this year. The School of Social and Community Services, and the Business School sponsored the breakfast.
Alex Fung-Chung, 31, a first-year culinary management student and a student member of the GSDC, said the community needs to be in the forefront to battle prejudice
“The way that things are in the world overall, I think public view of the LGBTQ community needs to be more modernized…we need to be more visible,” he said.
Misinformation and misunderstanding are culprits of bigotry.
“I hope that at a diverse campus, at a diverse school, at both campuses, we’re able to start conversations and create a more accepting, welcoming, and positive space to be who you are,” said Zeidenberg.
Jordan Orford, 23, an advertising and graphic design student at Humber and a coordinator at Lakeshore for LGBTQ+ awareness week, said it’s important for the college’s LGBTQ students to know about the resources available to them.
“I think having a week like this will not only bring people out and bring awareness about what’s going on, not only at Humber but in the world, but it will also be a place where LGBTQ students that have questions can come and ask,” he said.
Silcox-Childs said the awareness week takes place in April because the student timetable doesn’t coincide very well with Pride in June.
“It’s important that Humber does things that are visible in the hallways and on the boards. Our quiet administrative meetings sometimes don’t really go noticed to the general public,” he said.
But planning the week-long event did come with challenges.
“I think it’s difficult sometimes to get students out and being visible, because I think some students still do feel unsafe, and that’s come out in meetings…there are a lot of closeted students,” said Hill.
The GSDC sees a bright future for improving awareness at Humber.
“There are goals at different levels of the college, so for faculty, looking at queering the curriculum, being more inclusive in how curriculum is being taught in the classroom, the types of readings and authors and materials that students access as part of their course work – these are goals on the faculty side,” said Hill.
Silcox-Childs stressed the importance of keeping the awareness up.
“Be an advocate, be an ally that helps make the hallways LGBTQ friendly and safer” said Silcox-Childs. “Please keep this awareness week vibe all year long.”