A proactive measure to address or reduce homophobia and raise awareness of sexual diversity and gender diversity is to start a Positive Space campaign at your campus or high school. Below, we have outlined general steps and processes to support such important work. The suggestions made in this document represent just one approach to addressing and dismantling the barriers linked to issues of sexual and gender identities. This document should be taken as a guide that is by no means fixed or rigid, and should be modified based on the environment in which you work, study, and play. We encourage the exploration of numerous approaches.
Form a Positive Space Committee
The creation of a committee will provide a forum for discussion and action regarding the needs of your students and staff in terms of visibility and inclusiveness of sexual and gender diversity. Include members from different constituencies of the university who have diverse roles and responsibilities. A diverse committee is important because it allows the campus as a whole to take responsibility for the creation of a more inclusive and visible community.
Members of the committee may include:
- Students – Approach student leaders of councils, clubs, and unions on campus and ask them to approach their membership to gauge interest and seek representation.
- Faculty – From a range of backgrounds and levels of seniority.
- Staff – Seek out equity/human rights staff, student services officers, human resources professionals, caretakers, and anyone who demonstrates interest in the committee.
Administrators and senior administration – whether they play a mostly honorary or more substantial role, having administrators on the committee can lend it legitimacy, letting everyone know that your school is committed to increased visibility for sexual and gender diversity in serious and concrete ways
Also consider targeting residence staff, student life professionals and union representatives for recruitment.
Establish the Goals and the Direction of the Committee
Decide in a preliminary meeting, how to structure your committee in order to stay focused and organized. If needed, assign roles and responsibilities to members.
Possible roles include:
- a chair of the committee, who will call meetings and help facilitate the discussion so that meetings run efficiently
- a secretary, who records the discussions so that all ideas and project updates can be kept on file in one location and for all to review
- new roles and responsibilities may arise as projects become more clearly defined.
Brainstorm and discuss the needs of your campus in terms of visibility and inclusivity around sexual and gender diversity. Define the issues that you want to address and inform people in the committee of these issues.
Seek Out Support and Funding from Your Institution
Think strategically about how to obtain support from senior administration in the form of recognition as well as funding. Solicit help in achieving more widespread recognition from higher authorities at your institution.
It is important to have the endorsement of the senior administration in order to be established and recognized in the university setting. This will legitimize the initiative and show that the university is making a commitment to its community. A source of funding may also come about from this administrative support.
For example: contact the president/principal/chancellor/dean of your division or institution, who can then invite other staff and faculty to partake in your initiative.
Seek out recognition and funding from other well-established and strongly rooted divisions of the university such as:
- student affairs/services departments
- student governments/unions
- student clubs
- faculty associations
- labour unions on campus
- academic departments/divisions/faculties
- alumni associations
The accumulation of monetary contributions from different divisions of your institution will provide a wider and more stable base of support. Ensuring ongoing funding is key.
Implement Your Plan
This is when your committee puts its plan into action and implements its project(s), after having attained support and funding from the institution. Your project(s) may take various forms, such as:
- an educational website about sexual diversity and the importance of visibility and inclusiveness
- the creation and distribution of information pamphlets with a list of resources within the campus and greater community
- the development of an educational workshop to be presented to different groups within your campus community
- the introduction of a visible logo/symbol to attract attention to issues of sexual and gender identity, which can represent the efforts of the campus community to be more inclusive and welcoming.