Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

Petter's Perspective: Notes from the President


Creating an inclusive and respectful community: It takes all of us

May 17, 2018

May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia. On this day, I invite you to join with colleagues from across the university and around the globe to draw attention to the barriers that exist for LGBTQ2SIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirited, intersex and asexual) individuals in many areas of society.

This year’s theme, “Alliances for Solidarity,” reminds us of how important it is not only to counter stigma, discrimination and violence, but also to challenge less visible forms of systemic and structural oppression.

SFU is dedicated to be a welcoming and supportive community for students, faculty and staff. Our Engaged University vision commits us to valuing diversity and fostering a culture of inclusion and mutual respect.

This commitment is reflected in many campus and community initiatives. For example, Out on Campus is a Simon Fraser Student Society group that offers space at SFU Burnaby for LGBTQ2SIA+ education, advocacy and resources.

SFU's Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies provides workshops, hosts conferences, and supports innovative research, courses, and activism on trans and genderqueer issues, including advocating for washrooms that are open to all people regardless of gender.

Members of the SFU community have also collaborated with community partners to advance LGBTQ2SIA+ inclusion.

 A recent example is the Mapping Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Queer Migrant Needs in Surrey project in partnership with DIVERSEcity and led by Dr. Jen Marchbank, who was awarded the 2017 Surrey Pride award.  In addition, Dr. Marchbank collaborates with the City of Surrey to curate a LGBTQ2SIA+ educational exhibit, now in its fifth year, housed at City Hall during Pride season.

This is still much more that all of us can do to challenge homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, and to ensure that all members of our community feel welcome at SFU.

To this end, I encourage members of the SFU community to participate in the Equity Diversity and Inclusion consultation in the coming months.  The consultation will identify further barriers to inclusion and to seek out ways we can enhance support for LGBTQ2SIA+ community members while creating more educational opportunities for all.   

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