Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
1. A Positive Space is an environment where individuals feel welcome and comfortable in expressing and their sexual and gender identities. Both individuals and groups can work to create a positive space.
2. The Positive Space Campaign at Brock University is an initiative intended to raise the visibility and number of respectful, supportive, educational and welcoming spaces for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, two-spirited, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) students, staff and faculty through the dissemination of cards, posters and buttons indicating Positive Space.
3. The Positive Space Campaign is intended to help create a campus that is free of discrimination on the basis of sexual and gender identities. It aims to foster a welcoming atmosphere on campus for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities by identifying spaces where sexual and gender diversity is supported and valued. This campaign is a reflection of Brock University’s commitment to welcome and include all members of the community.
4. There are a variety of equity issues that call out for public discussion and political support. One distinctive result of marginalization based on sexual and gender identities is that many LGBTQ people remain closeted. They grow up in an environment hostile to LGBTQ issues unless given a strong indication to the contrary. In other words, the way that LGBTQ people are marginalized makes this kind of campaign – focussing on visibility – an appropriate response.
5. No. This is a new campaign and many people within the university will not have heard of the campaign or may not have been available for the training sessions. Others may have heard of the campaign and are supportive of its objectives, but do not have control over what is posted in the office space. Others may be supportive, but not yet comfortable or assured in speaking out on these issues. Still others may simply not be in the habit of putting cards or posters on their doors or pins on their clothing.
6. No. Displaying a card or button means that you are supportive of these issues and have some knowledge about them, but it does not mean that you should be prepared to offer counselling. If a situation arises in which you feel that the person who has approached you needs more advice or assistance that you are able and willing to give, you should refer that person to one of the other resources on or off campus. Most people, whether they are LGBTQ or not, will not be looking for counselling. They will just want a supportive, affirmative person to talk with.
7. One of the goals of this campaign is to make that question irrelevant. Straight people are being encouraged to take up these issues alongside members of the LGBTQ communities, and they are doing so in greater and more visible numbers. True, some people still assume that those who talk supportively of sexual diversity are themselves lesbian, gay, bi, trans, two-spirited, queer or questioning. This is often not the case. Also, this campaign asks people to think about why such labels make people uneasy. Being thought of as “different” is still a big deal for many, evoking discomfort and fear. The Positive Space Campaign wants to challenge that. This campaign is for everyone who is, or wants to be, LGBTQ positive.
8. It is not intended to establish a counselling network in the university beyond that which already exists. It is not intended to embarrass people to assert that they are LGBTQ positive. It is not intended to encourage finger pointing at those who do not become part of the campaign. It is not intended to suggest that those who are part of it are themselves LGBTQ people.
9. The cards and buttons should only be attached to your personal possessions and posted in your own spaces (residence rooms, offices, etc). Only those who have attended training should display the card, so if you share space (e.g. a front counter), you should only display the card when you occupy the area. Please respect the property and space of others and only display your cards or buttons in designated areas. Please do not display the posters or cards in common Brock University spaces such as elevators or stairwells because they will likely be removed. If you notice any Positive Space materials that have been defaced, please contact the Positive Space Committee as soon as possible so that they can be replaced.
10. Yes. Everyone who wishes to get a poster, card or button must attend the training session. There are people on campus who likely don't need this training or don't have time to attend a session, but the Committee feels that attendance is important for a number of reasons. Although the training is short and thus cannot be comprehensive, it is one way that we can ensure that all those who take the training session have at least a basic understanding of some of the key issues addressed by the Positive Space Campaign. Those people who are already well versed in these issues will have lots to contribute in the training session and will be an asset to fellow participants. The training sessions are also opportunities to meet and network with others.
11. All members of the Brock University community are encouraged to become involved in the campaign; including staff, faculty and students.
12. Talk about sexual and gender diversity
If LGBTQ-related topics come up, talk about them as you would other issues. If there are things you don’t know or understand, ask.
Challenge anti-LGBTQ comments
If friends or associates engage in discriminatory talk, let them know that you don’t share their beliefs or their sense of humour. By doing so, you’ll encourage others to think, talk and act in a way that will create a more welcoming and equitable environment.
Join the Positive Space Campaign
Sign-up for training and become a part of our to campaign to make Brock University a Positive Space. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org more information.
The Celebrate Diversity campaign is designed to increase awareness around sexual and gender diversity on campus. Everyone is welcome to show their support and to wear a “Celebrate Diversity” button.
Buttons identifying people as part of the Positive Space Campaign will only be available to those who complete a Positive Space training session.
For more information about upcoming training sessions, please contact email@example.com.