The University of Guelph is offering a new training module to faculty, students and staff to increase awareness and support of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community.

Developed with input from members of the U of G’s LGBTQ2SIA+ community, the Positive Space Project online training will help develop important skills and resources needed to foster an inclusive living, learning and working environment for members of the LGBTQ2SIA+ communities at the University, said Jarred Sanchez-Cacino, sexual and gender diversity adviser with U of G’s Student Experience.

“The module is for everyone on campus and will be particularly helpful for those in positions that involve a lot of interaction with many others in the campus community,” said Sanchez-Cacino, who created the module along with U of G’s training, education and inclusion officer Joseph Pazzano.

The two-part training addresses key concepts, including LGBTQ2SIA+ identities, allyship, coming out, terms and use of inclusive language. It also provides guidance on how best to support LGBTQ2SIA+ faculty, staff and students at U of G.

“This training is important and will provide our students, faculty and staff with the valuable tools and resources they need to create safer and respectful environments for everyone at U of G,” said Indira Naidoo-Harris, associate vice-president, diversity and human rights (DHR). “The University’s deep commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion begins with a solid foundation of understanding, and this training is the first step towards long-lasting, systemic change.”

In a 2019 Ontario-wide study of the experiences, well-being and academic development of LGBTQ2SIA+ university students, the University of Guelph fared better than many other campuses. But there is room for improvement, said Naidoo-Harris, as members of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community are uniquely affected by various issues.

“We know full equality and acceptance for the LGBTQ2SIA+ community is directly connected to addressing racism, colonial violence, ableism, misogyny and other systems of oppression,” she said. “This training will bring an intersectional and anti-oppressive lens to equity and inclusion practices at the U of G and lay the foundation for a strong culture of belonging for everyone in our campus community.”

Part one of the training consists of an online module accessible through CourseLink or the DHR website. The second part is an in-person workshop led by an experienced facilitator to turn that information into practice and action.

Individuals who complete both components will receive a Positive Space Project decal for display in their workspace.

“Within the LGBTQ2SIA+ community, there are varied experiences of inclusion and societal progression, and one particular area that the training focuses on is inclusive language and pronouns when it comes to gender diversity,” said Sanchez-Cacino.


Jarred Sanchez-Cacnio


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