Identifying as queer can be an isolating experience for many of today’s students. That being said, as one embarks on a journey into higher education, it can be helpful to know if your schools of interest have great resources to support your individual needs.
Most Eastern Canadian universities offer support to the LGBTQ2SIA+ community in the form of various academic programs or support groups, but each institution does support their queer students in unique ways that will continue to evolve.
Located in the heart of Montreal, Quebec, Concordia includes a variety of support for their queer students.
One of their most prominent societies is Queer Concordia, a community organization focused on the particular needs of LGBTQ2SIA+ students. The collective plans events, provides helpful sex positive information, support groups and access to queer-friendly health services. Taking part in Queer Concordia could also be a great extra curricular activity to partake in throughout your studies.
On the academic side, the university offers an Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality Bachelor of Arts program. The program centres around understandings of sexuality across history up to contemporary studies of intersectionality, including feminism, gender, race, class, politics, culture, and more. The required course credits can be taken as a major or as a minor towards another concentration.
Also in Montreal, McGill University provides similar resources for their students, such as the student-run service Queer McGill, who takes and shares stances on relevant politics, highlight queer issues, and take action to prevent prejudice against its members. The organization is very clear in its anti-discriminatory stance for the McGill campus and Montreal at large.
In addition to providing inclusion workshops and training to faculty and staff, McGill offers academic programs such as the Diploma in Human Relationships, Diversity and Sexuality intended for educators, community workers or professionals looking for further research in these areas.
Meanwhile, the McGill University Sexual Identity Centre (MUSIC) provides interpersonal group psychotherapy for queer people and creates workshops on topics such as internalized homophobia for parents of trans youth and more.
Halifax’s Dalhousie University has installed Collaborative+, a forum of communication between campus stakeholder groups to further inclusion for LGBTQ2SIA+ students, staff and faculty. Some of the members of Collaborative+ include the South House and Gender Resource Centre, DalOUT, Human Rights & Equity Services and more.
Health Services is also working to become more welcoming to queer students. The university has a large focus on health and medical services catered towards the queer community. The School of Nursing includes a community for queer students in their department in order to challenge and dismantle systems of oppression in healthcare, among other objectives in mentorship and community outreach.
In the same vein, the Gender and Health Promotion Studies Unit (GAHPS) is a research unit working in the production and translation of health knowledge that values relevant concerns for underprivileged communities.
University of Prince Edward Island
Located in the province capital of Charlottetown, the University of PEI is working to educate its community on the importance of gender neutral bathrooms, posting an official FAQ to its website that lists all of their locations on campus to help protect transgender and non-binary students specifically.
The university also offers a Diversity and Social Justice degree program that explores understandings and awareness of identity categories and their relationship to power and knowledge. The courses constituting the major are reflective of contemporary issues or discussions. After graduation, students are prepared for possible careers in law, government, social work, education, health, journalism and more.
Alex MacDonald, a former student of DSJS now working with Veteran Affairs Canada, believes the program provided her with a new level of critical thinking that she had not experienced previously and that these studies “will be relevant for years to come.”
Having all these resources in one place can help queer students make the most informed decision about their academic futures so they can flourish in an environment where they feel the most accepted.
Be on the lookout for more queer resource lists for other universities across the country.
“Queer Concordia.” N.D., https://www.facebook.com/QueerConcordia/
“Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality (BA).” N.D., https://www.concordia.ca/academics/undergraduate/sexuality.html
“Queer McGill.” 2021, https://www.queermcgill.org/
“Diploma in Human Relationships, Diversity & Sexuality.” 2021, https://www.mcgill.ca/edu-ecp/programs/prodev/diploma-human-family
“McGill University Sexual Identity Centre.” 2021, https://www.mcgill.ca/musicmentalhealth/
“Student Health and Wellness: Medical Services.” N.D., https://www.dal.ca/campus_life/health-and-wellness/my-health/Medical-Services.html
“School of Nursing: COMMUNITY OF TWO‑SPIRIT, LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, QUEER (2SLGBTQ) STUDENTS IN NURSING (2SLGBTQSN)” N.D., https://www.dal.ca/faculty/health/nursing/about/Student_Equity_Coalition/community-of-lesbian–gay–bisexual–transgender–queer–and-two.html
“Gender and Health Promotion Studies Unit.” N.D., https://www.dal.ca/diff/gahps/about-us.html
“All-Gender Washroom FAQ.” N.D., https://www.upei.ca/office-vice-president-administration-and-finance/facilities/all-gender-washrooms/faq
“Diversity and Social Justice Studies.” N.D., https://www.upei.ca/programs/diversity-social-justice-studies
“UPEI’s Diversity and Social Justice Studies program offers self-discovery, opportunities.” April 18, 2021, https://www.upei.ca/communications/spotlight/2021/04/alex-macdonald