As Pride Week at Sheridan College comes to a close the importance of queer representation holds its place. From April 4th to 6th, Sheridan Student Union held events at each campus with an Open Mic Pride Night, Pride Bingo and Coffee Talk: Game’s Night.
Sheridan Peer Mentors also host pop-ups during event weeks at the College sharing the importance of recognition. “I think for queer people we feel like we exist parallel to the rest of the world and I feel like when we include these kinds of things we feel like we’re actually a part of this and we do belong in these kinds of spaces,” says peer mentor, Arah faisal.
Alongside celebrating Pride Week and Month, Sheridan College aims to create a positive atmosphere across each campus. Wellness services include a variety of medical care, sexual health services and counselling with nurses and practitioners who have received specialized training with Rainbow Health Ontario. The SSU recently opened up 2SLGBTQIA+ Club at Sheridan and welcome newcomers to join and help create events and safe spaces where students can hang out and connect.
In the Fall of 2021, the SSU also launched the Sheridan Student Union Proud to be 2SLGBTQIA+ award. The union committed $250,000 to student scholarships, bursaries and awards for students attending Sheridan College.
In addition to what the SSU offers, Professor Peter Grevstad developed an LGBTQ+ studies elective within Sheridan’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. During his Ph.D. studies, Peter wrote his dissertation on LGBTQ+ students in the community, the college and the curriculum. “If my point in my dissertation was that queer presence really matters, then we didn’t have one. And so I wrote a course in LGBTQ+ studies,” says Peter.
The course looks at history, biology, sexuality, sociology, and pure science. As well, students enrolled in the course get to contribute to the SuperQueero Podcast Project and learn more about queer heroes, local heroes, critical theory and historical figures. “I’ve got some really brave and bold young people,” says Peter, “A lot of it is about the process of identity formation… so I just hope that by unpacking queer studies with them gives them a sense that, however, they identify and however they’d like to present is totally okay and that there are other people like them.”
Each event presented by the SSU last week was created as an opportunity to foster a sense of belonging for the Sheridan Community. The College remains committed to providing support for LGBTQ+ students across each campus with the hope that representation will continue to grow.