Queer Voices: Universities as Catalysts for 2SLGBTQIA+ Advocacy and Support

Equity + Justice, 2024, Make a Difference for B.C., Transform the SFU Experience

With attacks on the 2SLGBTQIA+ community increasing worldwide, including in British Columbia and Canada, universities have become even more important for queer individuals. As places of education and dialogue, campuses often provide a welcoming and supportive environment for all students, including those in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, to embark on journeys of discovery, knowledge, belonging, and self-acceptance.

The event explored the role of universities in promoting acceptance and support for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Speakers discussed the importance of inclusive policies, curriculum development, and support services for queer students, faculty, and staff. They also considered the unique challenges faced by 2SLGBTQIA+ folks in post-secondary education and share methods of creating inclusive campus environments.

Wed, 05 Jun 2024

Online Event

About the SFU Queer Collective

The SFU Queer Collective is an inclusive space for 2SLGBTQIA+ graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni and postdoctoral fellows at SFU to cultivate belonging, community and queer joy. At the heart of their mission is a commitment to anti-oppressive values, the promotion of equity and justice, and the nurturing of intersectional solidarities.

The SFU Queer Collective represents a vibrant and skilled network dedicated to resource-sharing, collaboration, advocacy, empowerment, and the protection and celebration of our members and the larger Queer community.

Learn more about the SFU Queer Collective on their webpage and follow them on Instagram


Jen Marchbank (she/her) has been at SFU since 2005 and has been actively involved with 2SLGBTQI+ organizations throughout. She is founder and co-facilitator of the youth social activist group Youth 4 A Change which has been in operation since 2012. she is a former President of the Surrey Pride Society and remains on the board. She and her wife the Rainbow Seniors' Social Program in Surrey. Her research focuses on queer elder abuse and the experiences of trans and NB youth. She is the winner of the YWCA women of Distinction award, the Surrey Board of Trade Social Trailblazer Women in Business award and SFU excellence in Teaching award. Her teaching, activism and research are all informed by each other.

Norma Lize (she/her), is a trans activist and refugee advocate from Lebanon. Today, she is a Vancouver-area journalist and activist and has won the 2020 LGBTQ+ January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award top prize. Norma now helps other LGBTQ+ refugees settle in Canada and works for Rainbow Refugee. Rainbow Refugee is a Vancouver based organization whose aim is to provide safer and equitable migrations for people fleeing persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics/expressions and HIV status.

Jude Mah (they/them) is a Métis, mixed Chinese, non-binary, queer community organiser, 2SLGBTQIA+ educator, and non-profit leader settling on the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh & səlilwətaɬ territories. Being from Alberta and having spent their adolescence in a small rural town, advocacy and care for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community is at the core of their work. Jude believes in fostering compassion to create conversations and actions that can lead to the growth of equitable, empathetic, and sustainable communities.

Mackenzie Kolton (she/her) is the Director of Learning at Egale Canada. Mackenzie is passionate about working in 2SLGBTQI advocacy and education. Her previous role was as the Manager of Program Innovation at Big Brothers Big Sisters, co-developing Manitoba’s first Queer Lens Mental Health Training and overseeing their 2SLGBTQI department and staff. In addition, Mackenzie has worked with The Get REAL Movement for six years as their MB Program Coordinator and as a Team Lead Speaker, reaching over 150,000 students, educators, parents/guardians, and corporate businesses across the country. Through this, Mackenzie has a deep understanding of 2SLGBTQI curriculum and how to integrate inclusivity and diversity into a variety of spaces. As a Queer woman, Mackenzie is dedicated to working in collaboration with communities to build innovative programming and curriculum to address intersectional challenges. Mackenzie was awarded CBC’s Proud to Shine award in 2020 and 2021 to honour her work in advocacy and was named in the “Top 100 Fascinating Manitobans” in 2022. Mackenzie is thrilled to be continuing this work on the Egale team.


Kirk Hill (he/him) - As Assistant Dean External Relations at the Beedie School of Business, Kirk leads strategic initiatives promoting community engagement and external relations. He oversees marketing, communications, employer relations, alumni engagement, and event management. Since 2003, he's played a pivotal role in the school's growth, founding the Career Management Centre. In 2023, Kirk spearheaded the revitalization of the SFU Queer Collective and now serves as its co-Chair, furthering its impact on campus.


Event Partners