It takes the village: Supporting LGBTQ+ voices at Sheridan

Students have a lot to juggle, whether it’s schoolwork, jobs, or other activities. For LGBTQ+ students there can be additional stress and worry that stem from fear of or lack of acceptance. On average, they report higher rates of mental health issues.

These fears are not unwarranted, as seen in recent rallies in Toronto, where a Christian group protested in Toronto’s gay village, saying it wanted “civil rights for Christians too.” The group believes that the village in the area of Church and Wellesley “doesn’t belong to anyone” and feels it has an “equal right” to “voice opinions in the streets.” Pro-LGBTQ+ rallies were started in response.

CN Tower behind the glass ceiling at CBC Toronto.

Mayor John Tory is looking to foster, “a sense of unity,” in what he calls, “the most diverse city in the world. He participated in pro-LGBTQ+ gatherings on Saturday.

Sheridan students we spoke to had different views on Tory’s participation. Don Nickson said that “the mayor should remain impartial because he represents everyone.”

However, social services student, Gillian, an LGBTQ student who asked to keep her last name private, said, “It’s important that the mayor marches.”

Sheridan’s administration has acknowledged the importance of everyone feeling accepted and has taken steps for students like Gillian to feel supported. Since 2017 Sheridan has introduced gender-neutral washrooms.

A gender-neutral washroom in B wing.

And the school’s Pride club is also back in session for the fall semester.

It’s been found that LGBTQ Canadians are more likely to seek help for mental and physical health than heterosexual Canadians. At Sheridan, students are always welcome at the health and wellness centre, where counselling and medical services are available for any student.

The student health centre at Trafalgar campus.

There are a number of other resources for LGBTQ+ students and youths:

  • Soy Toronto, a support group and resource for LGBTQ newcomers under 29 years old
  • Rainbow Salad, a Mississauga based LGBTQ support group
  • Good2Talk, free counselling for Canadian post-secondary students
  • Positive Space Network, a community for LGBTQA young people in the Halton and Peel regions