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Positive Space at Fanshawe College


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Part of a training program aimed at encouraging faculty, staff and students at Fanshawe College to become "Positive Space" allies for GLBTTQQ students. If you wish to have this workshop presented in …

Part of a training program aimed at encouraging faculty, staff and students at Fanshawe College to become "Positive Space" allies for GLBTTQQ students. If you wish to have this workshop presented in your classroom or department, contact Candice in the Counselling and Student Life Department, F2010, Fanshawe College.

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    At Fanshawe College
  • 2. Factors Contributing to
    Suicide Attempts Among Youth
    • Bullying from parents, teachers, peers
    • 3. Parental rejection
    • 4. Substance abuse
    • 5. Affiliation with fundamentalist religious organizations
    • 6. Sexual identity conflicts
    • Seven times as many boys with gender identity issues vs. “gender-conforming” boys attempted suicide.
    • 7. The comparable ratio for girls was less pronounced; one and a half (gender identity issues) to one (gender-conforming).
    • 8. In a Canadian study, young adult men from a cross-section of the population answered questions on portable computers. Gay and bisexual subjects were found to have nearly fourteen times the suicide ideation of heterosexual males.

    • Statistics on transgendered persons and suicide are scarce. One survey showed that 32% of transgendered persons had attempted suicide. These attempts were related to young age, depression, substance use, forced sex, and other victimization.
    • 9. Despite progress in several areas, scholarship on specific marginalized groups within the LGBTTQ community is sparse: LGBTTQ people of colour, bisexual women and men, lesbians, people with disabilities, and transgendered individuals. (Phillips et al., 2003) Phillips also noted a lack of attention to “within-group differences: LGBTTQ people of colour, and bisexual people.
    • 10. People of colour include First Nations people who generally, are at higher risk for multiple problems, including suicide.
    • 11. In the US, First Nations youth are 2 – 2.5 times more likely to commit suicide than their white cohorts.
    • 12. In Canada, their risk for attempting suicide, ranges from 1.4 – 5.6 times the risk, compared to their non-aboriginal peers.

  • 13. What is “Positive Space”?
    “Positive Space” entails creating a warm and welcoming community for LGBTQ people.
    This includes other groups with alternative sexuality, including transgendered, and
    “two-spirited” peoples (GLBT people of aboriginal descent).
  • 14. Purpose
    • To make the Fanshawe College campus a safer and freer environment for all members of the College Community, regardless of sexual orientation.
    • 15. Positive space allies pledge to be non-judgmental, confidential, and supportive contacts for members of the Fanshawe College community who may be dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender issues.
  • What is an “Ally”?
    • People whose behaviour and attitudes are inclusive, and non-judgmental.
    • 16. Allies work towards combating homophobia and heterosexism on personal, educational, and institutional levels.
  • What it means to be an “Ally”
    To be open to questions from, and about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered, two-spirited, “queer”, and questioning (LGBTTQ) people and their issues.
    To support College Policies (e.g., Respect Campaign), that make Fanshawe College campus a “positive space” for all members of the College community.
    To encourage others to become Allies, and part of the Positive Space program. The more willing people are to talk about these issues with open-mindedness and factual knowledge, the safer our community will be for LGBTTQ people.
  • 17. How to Participate
    Attend a Positive Space workshop, which examines attitudes and beliefs, raises awareness of the possible issues facing LGBTTQ persons, builds skills, and offers resources to participants.
    After attending a Positive Space workshop, display the Positive Space logo in your workspace.
  • 18.
  • 19. Commitment
    The length of your commitment to the Positive Space Program is up to you.
    While an active participant, display your logo within your work area. Should you decide to discontinue your participation, you may do so at any time.
    Being an ally may be difficult, at times. However, the rewards include knowing that you are contributing to a more open and caring community. Your involvement will help to foster a greater sense of inclusion for all members of the College community.
  • 20. Guidelines for Allies
    Refer students to the Counselling and Student Life Department (F2010) when appropriate (see section 1c). If a student is experiencing psychological distress and/or is having trouble coping, suggest that speaking to a Counsellor may be helpful.
    Please inform us (Ext. #4282) if you are leaving Fanshawe College, changing office locations, or want to withdraw from the Program.
    Keep your resource manual in a location that is accessible and familiar to you. Feel free to copy any materials from the manual for individual students and/or colleagues.
    Please contact Candice Lawrence (Extension 4307) with any questions or suggestions.
  • 21. Guidelines…. (continued)
    Respect each person’s privacy. We are asking that you keep contacts confidential.
    Please refer to the Cass Model of Sexual Identity Development, (see section 3 b). A student or colleague may be exploring her/his sexuality and may not identify as a LGBTTQ person even though s/he is engaging in a same-sex relationship.
    You may find yourself being an advocate, teacher, advisor, or mentor to those who seek your support. Participants must maintain clear, professional boundaries at all times.
  • 22. When to Refer a Student to a Counsellor
    • When a student tells you that they are unable to function in class, or have seen
    a drop in their academic performance.
    • When a student expresses difficulty coping with daily activities and
    • When a student mentions that they are experiencing depressive symptoms:
    crying spells, fatigue, sleep disturbances, sudden weight loss or gain, loss of
    interest or pleasure in previously enjoyable activities, and/or inability to focus,
    concentrate or complete tasks.
    • When a student states that they are experiencing symptoms of anxiety:
    panic attacks, shortness of breath, sweaty palms, headaches, dry mouth, rapid
    heartbeats, racing thoughts, and/or insomnia.
    • When a student expresses suicidal thoughts or feelings.
  • Counsellor Referral (continued)
    • When a student tells you that they have no social support. They may mention that they have no friends or family that they can talk to about their sexual orientation. This student may or may not need counselling, but could benefit from being connected to a support group. The Counselling and Student Life Department can make the proper assessment and referral.
    • 23. Currently, there is a GLBTTQ Student Club, called “Spectrum”. You may also suggest that they contact the FSU (Fanshawe Student Union) office, to inquire.
    • 24. When in doubt, or when feeling worried about the student, a referral to the Counselling and Student Life Department (F2010) would be appropriate.
  • Qualities of an Ally
    Works to understand the needs of LGBTTQ community.
    Acknowledges how patterns of oppression have operated in his/her own life.
    Is committed to personal, institutional, and social justice and equality.
    Promotes a sense of community which represents and includes LGBTTQ people.
    Refuses to ignore or accept discrimination, ignorance and homophobia.
  • 25. Things that Discourage People from Becoming an Ally
    Being “labeled” a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person by the heterosexual population.
    Being worried that they will become victim of overt or covert discrimination in their work environment.
    Not understanding the culture and lingo, which may be difficult without assistance from a member of the LGBTTQ group.
    Allies may be mocked and ridiculed by heterosexuals that view the issue as unimportant, unpopular, or who are extremely homophobic. Allies may be alienated by those who aren’t comfortable with the topic.
    Due to some past experiences with heterosexuals, the LGBTTQQ population may question the ally’s motivation.
  • 26. Benefits of Being an Ally
    Opens one up to the possibility of close relationships with an additional 10% of the population.
    Provides opportunities to learn from, teach, and have an impact on a population with whom you may not otherwise reach.
    Has the potential to reduce your likelihood of stereotyping based on sex roles.
    You may be the reason an individual finally decides that his/her life is worth something.
    You will expand your experience of the world, and improve your tolerance of difference.
  • 27. Four Basic Levels of Ally Development
    AWARENESS: Explore how you’re different from and similar to
    GLBTQ people. Gain this awareness through talking with LGBTTQ people, attending workshops, and self-examination.
    KNOWLEDGE/EDUCATION: Begin to understand policies, laws and
    practices and how they affect LGBTTQ people. Educate yourself on the many communities and cultures of LGBTTQ people.
    SKILLS: This involves taking your awareness and knowledge and
    communicating it to others. Learn by doing.
    ACTION: This may be a frightening step for most people. Recognize
    this but also recognize that action is the only way to effect change.
  • 28. Points to Remember
    • Have a good understanding of sexual orientation.
    • 29. Be comfortable with your own.
    • 30. Understand the “coming out” process, realizing that it is not a one-time event.
    • 31. This process is unique to LGBTQ people, bringing challenges that are not often understood.
    • 32. Heterosexual people do not have to “claim” their heterosexuality.
    • 33. Understand that LGBTTQ people receive the same messages about sexuality as everyone else. Thus, they may suffer from “internalized homophobia” and heterosexism.
  • Points to Remember
    • Recognize their risks of coming out, and help to challenge the internal oppression.
    • 34. Remember that LGBTTQ people are a diverse group. Each community within that community has unique issues and needs.
    • 35. Know at least basic information about HIV/AIDS in order to address misinformation, and to be supportive of those who may be affected by this disease.
    • 36. While AIDS/HIV is a health issue for all, those who live with the most fear and have lost the most members of their community are LGBTTQ people.
  • Special Issues for GLBTTQ Students
    • Self Esteem and Identity
    • 37. Religion and Spirituality
    • 38. Relationships and Intimacy
    • 39. Academic and Career Issues
    • 40. Travel and vacation plans
    • 41. Cultural background and history
  • “Powerful words. The act of defining one’s self.
    The act of forever coming out, naming ourselves.
    Voicing those words to family and friends, who sometimes act deaf,
    who often pretend that we have not spoken, that they did not hear.
    I am a Lesbian.”
    Makeda Silvera: Piece of My Heart: A Lesbian of Colour Anthology“
    “Naming is power. When I tell you who I am
    I give you the power to name me.
    When someone else names me, they define who I am and usurp the power
    that is rightfully mine.
    The beginning or end of our freedom lies in the power to name ourselves or others.”
    Margaret Dierdre O’Hartigan:
    Transsisters, The Journal of Transsexual Feminism #7
  • 42. Positive Space
    The Positive Space Program, Presentation, and Resource Manual was created with information gleaned from many national, provincial and local resources and websites.
    Special thanks:
    Bryan Luther, Associate Professor of Physics, Chair of the Safe Space Committee, Cocordia College in Moorehead, MN, USA
    John Major,
  • 43. Contact Information
    Counselling and Student Life Department.
    LOCATION: Room F2010,
    PHONE: 519-452-4430, Extension 4307