LGBTQ Special Initiatives

In addition to its regular programming and course offerings on LGBTQ issues and ideas, the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies is committed to supporting local LGBTQ programs and organizations in the Lower Mainland, and in particular, the generation of queer intergenerational dialogue.

Find out about current events here.

Current Initiatives



Map it! Photograph it! Tell us about it!

Participate in a LGBTQ2S focus group to collectively map and talk about your queer city in Burnaby and beyond.

Photograph your queer life and tell us about it in an interview.

Earn $30 for participating in a focus group and $50 for a photo-based interview.

Focus group will be held at Out on Campus on Friday, October 4, 2019.

Interested participants should email Tiffany Muller Myrdahl at

yourLGBTQ2Scity is a project of the Queering Canadian Suburbs Research Team (Dr. Alison Bain and Dr. Julie Podmore), supported by York University and John Abbott College and funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council
of Canada

History project at Surrey Pride

June 29, 2019

SFU Surrey

Photos from display


5th Annual Pride Display in Surrey City Hall

Nice to have community support at the launch of the 5 th annual Pride display in Surrey City Hall curated by Jen Marchbank, Professor GSWS. Thanks to school board trustee candidates Charlene Dobie and Cindy Dalglish who came out contribute to our discussion on SOGI.

For the last 4 years coming up to the Surrey Pride festival Dr. Jen Marchbank has curated LGBTQ2SIA+ focused educational exhibits in Surrey City Hall. In this 5th year the focus is on sexual orientation and gender identity resources for BC schools - otherwise known as SOGI 123. On Tuesday June 5th at 12 noon Dr. Marchbank will be available at City Hall for any media/public/community that care to come visit. Thanks to Human Resources, City of Surrey. The display will be up for two weeks. Please note that the Surrey Pride Festival is on June 30th, Holland Park.

Below are some photos of the display.

Mapping Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Queer Migrant Needs in Surrey, BC

A Report Commissioned by DIVERSEcity

Click here to read the report.

GSWS at Surrey Pride

Congratulations to Dr. Jen Marchbank for being awarded the 2017 Surrey Pride Award!

Photos of Dr. Jen Marchbank and GSWS students at the history exhibit at Surrey Pride, June 25, 2017.

4th Annual LGBTQ display in Surrey City Hall

Announcing 4th now annual LGBTQ display in Surrey City Hall atrium curated by Professor Jen Marchbank of GSWS. This year it will be launched on Tuesday, June 6th at 4pm. This year it focuses on the needs of LGBTQ+ newcomers and what services are available and will include the above report researched and written by some of my graduate students from Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies at SFU. Thanks to HR at City of Surrey for partnering. Dr. Marchbank hopes to have as many of our community and allies there to 'launch' this new exhibit.

Photos from the launch:

Older and Loving It

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

7:00 - 9:00 pm

LGBTQ open mic - FREE

"Come on down for our final open mike of the season at the Roundhouse Community Centre. Our featured readers are students from GSWS 321 -"Intergenerational Queer Activism: Critical Art and Community Engagement". For this open mike, we are moving to the main stage in the Exhibition Hall as part of the week's annual showcase of work by seniors across Vancouver. We'll have professional sound equipment and a sizeable stage. Share your music, poetry, dance, spoken word, drag, or work in any other genre. Sign up to perform at 7pm. The list will probably fill this month, so don't be late! Show starts at 7.30, This event is FREE!!!"

Click here to see poster

LGBT Elder Abuse


In a unique inter-generational project, that brought together queer youth with queer senior citizen creative writers,  Gloria Gutman and her team from Simon Fraser University’s Gerontology Research Centre   created a set of videos and posters and fact sheets designed to raise awareness and address elder abuse in the LGBTQ community.  These were premiered in 6 Town Hall meetings held in Surrey, Nelson, Vancouver, Prince George, Kelowna and Victoria British Columbia between Febuary 10 and March 3, 2016.  The Vancouver Town Hall was video-recorded.  Website visitors are encouraged to view it for background information on elder abuse and why we think LGBT seniors may have additional risks over those of the general population of older adults.  We also urge you to use our videos to start the conversation -- that's their purpose -- and to adapt the posters and fact sheets to identify where help can be obtained in your local community.   This is an action-research project -- give us your feedback. We want to know what you think about the videos and the poster/fact sheets and how you use them. An exit survey is available to track who attends your event and to give us data on knowledge spread. For a copy email or  Click here for more information...

Surrey LGBTQ History 2016

The City of Surrey and Dr. Jen Marchbank will launch the 3rd annual exhibit display which covers LGBTQ history in Canada with a focus on two landmark events that happened in Surrey: the Ban the Books by Surrey School Board and the lifting of the HIV Travel Ban to the States, one a national issue the other an international issue and BOTH determined by the activism of people from Surrey. The exhibit will open at Surrey City Hall on Friday, June 17th at 3pm and all are welcome to join us.

An Intergenerational Arts Initiative to Combat Elder abuse in the LGBT Community

GSWS Adjunct Faculty, Dr. Claire Robson discusses the intergenerational arts project aimed at combating elder abuse in the LGBT community.  Click to read...

Transgender Flag Raising at Vancouver City Hall

Interview of Dr. Claire Robson with Stephen Quinn on On the Coast re the City of Vancouver raising the transgender flag at City Hall alongside the rainbow flag.

Click here to listen.

Call & Response: An intergenerational showcase

Click here to watch tease!

February 19th, 2015. 7.00 – 9.00 pm
Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Room Fir 128, 12666 72nd Avenue, Surrey
February 22nd, 2015. 5.00 – 7.30pm.

Britannia Services Centre, Canucks Family Education Centre, 1001 Cotton Drive, Vancouver
Admission by sliding scale, $3 - $15

Join us for an evening of digital media, spoken word, poetry, and stories from an innovative intergenerational collaboration. Over the last year, queer youth and queer elders have been exchanging writing prompts, work, and critique. The results will entertain, amaze, and inspire you.

The members of Youth for a Change, facilitated by Jen Marchbank and Sylvia Traphan, range in age from 13 to 22. They’re advocates, activists, and educators, who offer workshops and training, monitor government policies, lobby local politicians and go on field trips (among many other activities). They meet in Surrey.

The members of Queer Imaging & Riting Kollective for Elders (Quirk-e), facilitated by Claire Robson and Kelsey Blair, range in age from 55 – 86. Quirk-e is a critical arts collective, committed to challenging and changing stereotypical notions of what it’s like to be old and queer. They meet in Vancouver.

The Vancouver event is funded in part by a grant from the City of Vancouver. The Surrey event is being sponsored by Kwantlen Faculty Association and the Vancouver event by Britannia Services Centre.

To register, go to

Contact: Claire Robson 604 222 4606



















Under the Rainbow is a short documentary featuring Shaunee Gaffney, a queer high school student facing family rejection, hunger, and homelessness. After being thrown out of home, she finds herself couch-surfing with strangers and living a life of daily insecurity and vulnerability. It is through Shaunee's story of resilience, combined with insights from service providers and researchers, that we learn of the many root causes that contribute to the high incidence of poverty in queer and trans communities in BC. Produced by the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, this is an inspiring film that provides hope for the future.

Claire Robson's (GSWS Post-Doc) interview with Gloria Macarenko from CBC TV will air on Sunday, August 3rd (the day of Pride) at 11:00 am as part of their Pride coverage.

Happy Pride everyone!

Surrey LGBTQ History

Jen Marchbank of the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies is developing an archive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and queer activism in Surrey. Larger cities such as Toronto and Vancouver have their history projects and Jen sees no reason why the now mature and diverse activism that occurs in Surrey should not also be documented. Jen is also an LGBTQ activist in Surrey (she was President of the Surrey Pride Society 2011-13 and co-founded Youth for A Change). Combining her academic and activist interests she was integral in achieving the approval of the City of Surrey to display a history exhibit in the new City Hall atrium for Surrey Pride week (June 26- July 7).  Working closely with long time Surrey activist and community leader Martin Rooney they unveiled the exhibit on June 26th.

The exhibit displays the activism in Surrey from the first Ban the Books Bigots Fund dance in 1998 through the establishment of Out in Surrey Rainbow Cultural Society (OISRCS). Soon OISRCS became so active that it created the Empire of the Peace Arch Monarchist Association; the Surrey Youth Alliance and renamed itself the Surrey Pride Society. Also documented are the stories of the activist youth group, Youth for A Change, Martin Rooney’s successful campaign to remove the US HIV travel ban and the HIV/AIDS education and fund raising organisation, Red Ribbons for Life, also run by Martin.

Feel free to visit the exhibit and sign the visitors’ book.

The Bridge Generation

The department is proud to announce the launch of The Bridge Generation: A queer elders’ chronicle from no rights to civil rights, which it published in March, 2014. The book was written by members of the queer seniors’ group, Quirk-e (the queer imaging & riting collective for elders).

 Find out more about the book here.

Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony (A LOT)

The Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony is an online open access archives hosted by Simon Fraser University Library and directed by GSWS associate Elise Chenier. At you can find lesbian oral histories that have been collected and donated to the archives by a variety of community activists and scholars who set out to document the history of women who identified as lesbians. This unique and rich resource is available to anyone with internet access and will be of particular interest to researchers, instructors, students, and historians.

Surrey Youth Outreach

Youth for A Change is the new name of Youth OUTreach, an advocacy and activist group of young LGBTQ people in Surrey. Youth for A Change has been active for over two years and promotes education on anti-homophobia; healthy teen relationships; gender identities and youth homelessness. Youth provide workshops to schools; other youth groups; teacher Pro D days as well as network with adult LGBTQ organisations in the lower mainland. Recently one of the group Shawnee Gaffney won a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' Power of Youth Leadership Award for her work with this group and others  

Co-founded and run by GSWS Associate Professor Jen Marchbank and her wife, Sylvie Traphan the group meets each Monday in Surrey. Currently Youth for A Change are working on the launch of the new name and on new, interesting and creative intergenerational projects.