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Gender & Sexual Diversity

Here you will find resources for LGBT2Q+ and questioning students, connections to communities that support gender and sexual diversity, and how to be an ally on campus. Your active and visible support can make a difference.

Gender and Sexual Diversity

Gender identities, expressions and sexual orientations exist on a broad spectrum. The sections below provide an introduction to the LGBT2Q+ community; however, language around gender and sexual diversity requires our continued attention and learning.

The LGBT2Q+ Acronym

The LGBT2Q+ acronym continues to evolve to reflect all the members of the LGBT2QQIAAP+ community. For instance, variations of the acronym exist that include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Two Spirit, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, agender and pansexual. The + is included for any self-identifying member of the community but not included in the acronym.

While many of these terms/acronyms can be used by different persons in different contexts, it’s important to remember that individuals identify themselves in different ways using different terms. Ultimately, gender and sexual expression are personal and it is important that each individual define themselves for themselves.

Visit ‘What does LGBT2Q+ Mean?’ to learn more. However, please note that this glossary is meant as an introduction, and is not the definitive answer as to how everyone applies these terms to define their own personal identity or sexuality.

The Pride Flag

The original Pride flag was designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978. The multiple colours on the flag were meant to reflect a diverse and varied LGBT2Q+ community with each of the colours holding symbolic meaning.

In June 2017, the city of Philadelphia adopted a revised version of the flag as part of the city’s More Color; More Pride campaign. The added black and brown stripes were meant to address issues of racism and exclusion in Philadelphia, but the new symbol quickly raised the attention of communities of colour globally.

While there have been great strides made in the LGBT2Q+ community, it remains that Pride is not always an inclusive space for Indigenous Peoples, Black people and people of colour. The black and brown stripes are a visible symbol of the importance of these voices and experiences. The new flag serves as a critical reminder to everyone that our work must be rooted in an intersectional approach to include those who have historically been and continue to be marginalised.

How Can I Learn More?

We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib
full-metal indigiqueer by Joshua Whitehead
Me, Myself and They: Life beyond the binary by Luna M. Ferguson
This One Looks Like a Boy: My gender journey to life as a man by Lorimer Shenher
Misfit by Andreas Souvaliotis

Still Processing hosted by Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris
One From the Vaults hosted by Morgan M. Page
The Ten hosted by Zach Stafford
Bonus: LGBTQ&A hosted by Jeffrey Masters

Western Libraries' Pride Reading List

This list is brought to you by the Western Libraries’ Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Intersectionality is a guiding principle for Western Libraries’ Pride Resource List. Find these books and others like them in the Western Libraries and Pride Library collection, both searchable at lib.uwo.ca.

Death Threat by Vivek Shraya and Ness Lee
Writer and musician Vivek Shraya, with the help of artist Ness Less transforms vivid and disturbing transphobic hate mail into this surrealist graphic novel, illustrating the dangers of online accessibility and how easy it is to spread hatred digitally.

Fire Song by Adam Garnet Jones
From Cree/Metis filmmaker Adam Garnet Jones, Fire Song is the story of Shane, an Anishinaabe teen. Shane’s story weaves the themes of sexuality, loss, and tradition together into a compelling account of growing up on a reserve.

Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote
In their second-to-latest book, Ivan Coyote shares their experience growing up in the Yukon and Vancouver as a gender non-conforming tomboy. Ivan Coyote will be joining us at Western as the Alice Munro Chair in Creativity.

No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies by E. Patrick Johnson
This collection of essays speaks to new truths about the black queer experience through topics such as queer music, dance, film, the black diaspora, gentrification, sex, and gender non-conformity to name a few.

The Children of Harvey Milk: How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World by Andrew Reynolds
Andrew Reynolds tells the stories of courageous men and women around the world who came forward to make their voices heard during the struggle for equal rights

Coming Out

It may seem overwhelming to think about sharing your sexual orientation or gender identity to your social circle. Give yourself time.

You may be questioning whether to come out, or you may be experiencing difficulties as a result of coming out to yourself or others. Make sure you recognize when you’re having difficulty coping, and consider seeking professional help. Please refer to the London-based organizations listed below, or the resources for 24-hour assistance if you or someone you know needs immediate support.

Pride and Anti-Racism

Pride is about celebration - but it is also about resistance, reform, advocacy, equity and justice. We can not seek liberation without addressing anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism. Pride Cannot - and Must Not -- Exist Without Anti-Racism Work. As such, we need to continue bringing anti-racism awareness to Pride today, tomorrow, and for as long as necessary.

We must work together to centre the voices of Black, Indigenous peoples and people of colour (BIPOC) as we advance LGBT2Q+ initiatives, disability justice, decolonization, anti-racism, gender equity and any other anti-oppressive work. One way to do this is by continuing to bring anti-racism awareness to Pride today, tomorrow, and for as long as necessary.

Check out some of these resources that acknowledge the intersectional and anti-racist work

Pride Cannot - And Must Not - Exist Without Anti-Racist Work
Emma Specter’s article on the importance of acknowledging the intersections of Pride, white allyship and racism.

Bringing Anti-Racism Awareness to Pride
Activist Avery Francis explains how to bring more anti-racism awareness into Pride celebrations.

The Real Work of Anti-Black Racism
A transcript of a powerful speech given by Darrell Bowden (Ryerson University) about how non-racialized community members can show up for Black colleagues, friends and communities during Pride Month.

Standing Together: Coming out for Racial Justice
Developed by the Basic Rights Education Fund, a toolkit at the above link explores organizational transformation through the intersections of anti-racism and LGBT2Q+ advocacy.

Being a LGBT2Q+ Ally

Being an ally for the gender and sexual diversity community takes time, thought, understanding and action. Allies work towards recognizing their own biases and privileges, create a safe and confidential space for those who identify as LGBT2Q+, and actively speak up when witnessing acts of aggression, bullying, or oppression against LGBT2Q+ individuals.

Where to Start

Part of being an ally means making a commitment to:

  • Don’t assume gender based solely on physical appearance.
  • Ask people what their pronouns are and be sure to use them accordingly. If you make a mistake, correct yourself - without being dismissive, making excuses or making it a huge deal. Politely correct others if they use the wrong pronoun.
  • Make an effort to use gender-neutral language in everyday conversations.
  • Recognize the diversity of LGBT2Q+ lives. Reflect on your own assumptions about sexuality stereotypes, and the intersections of race, religion, class and other intersecting identities of LGBT2Q+ students, staff and faculty.
  • Take responsibility for your own education on issues related to gender identity and sexual orientation. Take the initiative to become as knowledgeable as you can.

Find Support and Advocacy

As an LGBT2Q+ student, you may face different concerns, including worries about coming out, or reconciling your sexuality and sexual practices with your identity and/or gender. Click below for resources to help you connect with other members of the campus community, and receive support if you need it.

Finding Support on Campus

Health & Wellness
Western Health & Wellness provides health appointments, counselling supports, group care and workshops to faculty, staff and students on-campus.

Trans Care Team
The Trans Care Team comprises a group of clinicians from Health & Wellness who work together to provide specialized psychological counselling and medical care to students in an LGBT2Q+ affirmative environment.

Residence Counselling
Free counselling available to Western students living in residence.

Student Support and Case Management
There are a range of resources available to support students in difficult situations. The role of Student Support Case Managers is to help students in exploring and navigating these services.

Gender-based and Sexual Violence Survivor Support Case Manager
The Gender-based Violence & Survivor Support Case Manager connects survivors with resources and support, regardless of whether a formal complaint is submitted.

Human Rights Office
The Human Rights Office rovides information on the university’s discrimination and harassment policies, employment equity and diversity, and other human rights-related issues.

Office of the Ombudsperson
The Office of the Ombudsperson assists students with academic and non-academic performance problems and in reviewing their rights. The Office can suggest various strategies for managing conflicts and challenges.

Peer Networks and Community on Campus

PRIDE Western
USC’s Pride Western provides programming, services and advocacy for undergraduate students and the broader LGBT2Q+ community at Western.

Ally Western
USC’s Ally Western works to create a more inclusive university campus, with a focus on understanding and celebrating campus diversity.

Spectrum is a student-run club that works to bring students together for the common goal of building a safe space for LGBT2Q+ students on campus and creating a social network through various events and socials throughout the year.

SOGS Pride Commissioner
The Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) Pride Commissioner advocates on behalf of LGBT2Q+ SOGS members. In addition to representing the community’s interests at SOGS Council meetings, the Pride Commissioner helps connect students to resources, supports local LGBT2Q+ events, and seeks out ways to support LGBT2Q+ individuals.

Western EngiQueers
A student-run undergraduate engineering club that promotes and celebrates diversity, specifically focusing on members of the LGBT2Q+ community.

Western Outlaws
Western Law’s LGBT2Q+ student group. This group aims to foster community, mentorship and professional development among LGBT2Q+ students and faculty.

Ivey Pride Club
As the Ivey School of Business student-run Pride Club, Ivey Pride Club mentors, connects and celebrates LGBT2Q+ people in business.

Get REAL Western
A group of university students who speak to high school and middle schools about unlearning homophobia, and embracing differences in everyone.

Academic Programs

The Pride Library
The Pride Library provides public access to materials by and about the LGBT2Q+ community. Located in the D.B. Weldon Library.

Sexuality and Gender Research Group
The Sexuality and Gender Research Group brings together researchers from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities with scholars in other disciplines to discuss questions of sexuality and gender from a variety of disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and cross-disciplinary perspectives.

Queer Caucus
The Queer Caucus is intended to help forge community, facilitate academic alliances, promote scholarship, provide a venue for activism, and encourage discussions and practices of diverse forms of LGBT2Q+ pedagogy.

Off-Campus/Community Supports

LGBT Youthline
The LGBT Youth Line is a toll-free Ontario-wide peer-support phone line for lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, queer and questioning young people. Mon-Fri 4:00PM-9:30PM EST Text 647-694-4275 or visit www.youthline.ca to live chat with a Peer Support Volunteer. 

A monthly support group for LGBT2Q+ individuals and their friends, family and allies.

Trans Health Clinic
The trans-specific section of the London InterCommunity Health Centre.

Queer Events
An organization that seeks to help the LGBT2Q+ community in London connect through events, programs and initiatives. Queer Events also contributes to education and advocacy for a more inclusive, diverse and welcoming London community.

For Immediate, 24 Hour Support:

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911

ANOVA (formerly Sexual Assault Centre of London)
24 hour crisis and support line call 519-642-3000 or 1-800-265-1576

Trans Lifeline
Call 1-877-330-6366

Trevor Lifeline
27/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678678

Confidential helpline: Call 1-866-925-5454 or text "GOOD2TALKON" to 686868

CHMA Crisis Services/Reach Out
Call 519-433-2023 or 1-866-933-2023 or use the live chat at reachout247.ca