People of SFU

How Out on Campus cultivates a safe space for the LGBTQIA2S+ community

June 30, 2022
Constantin Lozitsky at the Out on Campus office

When Constantin Lozitsky came to SFU in 2017 as an international student, they never imagined experiencing Pride Month or being able to access campus resources and services for the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

“My pronouns—they/them/theirs—do not exist in my home country, and that is true for many international students on campus,” says Lozitsky.

But thanks to the support and resources they were able to access through SFSS Out on Campus (OOC), Lozitsky’s true self began to unfold. They felt that they were able to be openly queer in public for the first time, and formed connections with other members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community at SFU.

Now, Lozitsky is giving back to the SFU community as the OOC programming assistant, offering a place of refuge and community to help LGBTQIA2S+ students navigate their SFU journey.

An open door to everyone

OOC provides a variety of resources for students, all of which are funded through the Simon Fraser Student Society.

As OOC coordinator Jude Mah explains, “We have a library with a wide range of offerings from educational to fiction. Safer sex and menstrual supplies, pregnancy tests, razors, snacks and drinks. Peer support for anyone who needs to talk. Crises referrals for emergency housing, sexual violence and more. We also have educational resources through pamphlets and mini guidebooks, which are very popular.”

Anyone is welcome to come to the space, have a snack, start initiatives such as movie screenings and discussion groups, or plan to go to events such as the Vancouver Pride Parade. Says Lozitsky, “Students have so many wonderful and beautiful ideas about how they see the world and being able to access this wealth of knowledge is mind-blowing.”

Especially as the SFU community celebrates Pride Month this June, Lozitsky is focused on making sure that OOC is an open and welcoming space for everyone at SFU.

“Some people think Pride is only for the LGBTQIA2S+ community, but spaces like OOC should bring communities together, including allies,” they say. “Making interpersonal connections is vital to OOC because it helps to humanize and understand who the LGBTQIA2S+ community is.”

Looking to the future

While Lozitsky and Mah are both relatively new to OOC, having joined the team in 2020 and 2021 respectively, they have big dreams for how the service will grow.

These plans start with upgraded furniture and resources to make the OOC lounge feel a little more like home, as well as more regular events and programming. Currently, there is only a physical OOC presence on the SFU Burnaby campus, but Mah hopes to change that in Surrey and Vancouver: “For now, it would be more of a pop-up style, but even if we can table a couple times a month, and maybe do a social event once a month, that would go a long way for students.”

Just like Lozitsky, Mah is passionate about supporting SFU's LGBTQIA2S+ community—and they are excited to make a difference during their time as the centre’s coordinator.

Says Mah, “To those who may come to just one event, if their lives can be bettered by what we offer then that is incredibly rewarding.”

“Spaces like OOC are often where you learn the meaning of chosen family. Having the opportunity to provide that for so many students means the world.”

Out on Campus is located in SFU Burnaby, Student Union Building room 3100, Floor 2. For updates, you can connect with OOC on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

You can find more about Pride Month at SFU here.