UWindsor Leaders Want to See 2SLGBTQ+ Activism Grow Past Pride Month
UWindsor student leaders want to see 2SLGBTQ+ activism expand past Pride Month.
Pride Month allows the 2SLGBTQ+ communities of the world gather to celebrate the freedom of being themselves. For allies, it is an excellent opportunity to acknowledge issues the 2SLGBTQ+ community faces and self-reflect on the wrong attitudes toward them.
The student experience coordinator at the Office of Student Experience and co-founder of Office of Belonging, Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity (BIDE), Fardovzca Kusow, says that the treatment towards trans women of colour, specifically Black trans women falls under the radar.
“When it comes to the 2SLGBTQ+ movement, we need to acknowledge that our trans women of color are not safe, and it’s not a discussion that starts and ends with Pride Month.”
In the last five years, according to Trans Pulse Canada, three in four trans Canadians of colour reported being verbally harassed, one in three encountered sexual assault and almost one in four experienced physical violence. It has also been impossible for trans people of colour to access necessities like housing, employment, and health or social services.
According to an article from the Canadian Mental Health Association, “the transgender community experience the stigma that individuals going against the sexual and gender norms are inauthentic and threatening to society.”
The student supervisor of equity, diversity, and inclusion at the Lancer Recreation Centre, Yufei Quin, says there is a lack of representation of BIPOC, Asian, Hispanic/Latin people in the 2SLGBTQ+ movement in the media.
“When we see 2SLGBTQ+ activism, most of it is shared through the perspective of our white 2SLGBTQ+ peers. Most of the time, the activism does not spotlight what BIPOC, Asian, Hispanic/Latin people, or other individuals go through. Queer stories are not only about coming out; I don’t see a lot of representation for those who are not just queer but also racialized or have a disability.”
“Growing up, I never really had my representation. I never had an Asian woman/non-binary person to relate to or follow. Growing up Chinese, everything is traditional, and you stick to the gender binary. I grew up as a Chinese Canadian with Chinese parents who didn’t understand that I didn’t want to be a woman following the traditional or post-colonial western society rules.”
“I had a gender crisis/breakdown/awakening. And I am trying to decolonize what my gender meant to me. I do not want to be a woman. I want to be myself.”
Westernized perceptions of ideality influence the way society and institutions, including the media, perceive folks who are queer and of color. Often queer and Asian folks are seen as inferior, which contributes to the treatment of individuals in these communities when entering spaces such as entertainment.
The co-chair of the UWindsor Pride Committee and the accessibility advisor in the Student Accessibility Office, Joyceln Lorito, says the use of proper pronouns is still a common issue the 2SLGBTQ+ community encounters daily.
“It shouldn’t matter how someone looks on the outside, but if they want to be referred to in a certain way, then we need to do our best to do that.”
Mixing up or assuming peoples’ pronouns without asking first mistakes their sexual orientation and sends a hurtful message. Utilizing someone’s correct pronouns is the least you can do to show respect for someone else’s identity, says Lorito.
The UWindsor Pride committee continues to foster social, academic, and personal growth for all individuals in the UWindsor community through support, awareness, promotion, and education regarding 2SLGBTQ+ issues, rights, and experiences, says Lorito.
The committee is actively working with many community partners to make an impact at the university. They have previously worked with Trans Wellness Ontario, Bystander, Prevent Resist Support, and now the EDI offices.
This month the UWinPride committee is bringing back many presentations online around pronouns, how to support 2SLGBTQ+ students and their experiences, mental health, history of pride, and more. You can find more information at @uwinstudentexp on Instagram.
The University of Windsor raised the Progressive Pride flag for the third time outside Chrysler Hall Tower on June 1 to commemorate the beginning of Pride Month.
Thanks to the UWinPride committee, the ceremony took place on campus for students, faculty, and staff to gather and celebrate the 2SLGBTQ+ community. If you missed the event, check out the full video of the ceremony at @uwinstudentexp on Instagram.