The University’s Positive Space Campaign is a program that seeks to create and identify safer and more inclusive spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, queer, questioning and two-spirit (LGBTTIQQ2S) students, staff, faculty, alumni and allies at the University of Toronto.
Positive Space challenges the patterns of silence that continue to marginalize LGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty – even in environments with anti-discriminatory and inclusive policies. The most visible symbol of this campaign is the inverted rainbow triangle sticker that you will see in many places around campus.
If you notice a rainbow triangle sticker on a door or an office, it is a sign that people in that office are supportive of LGBTQ+ students, staff, faculty, and our allies and would welcome your questions and requests for assistance. They may not have all the answers, but they will be helpful in a general way, and can refer you to appropriate offices and services.
Currently, each campus has a committee that works towards ensuring that working and learning environments are welcoming to LGBTQ+ students, staff, faculty and allies. Change can not come from policy alone, but also comes from people acting together to ensure that all are welcome and respected. Each committee establishes its own agenda, but all work towards spreading awareness and growing the size of the campaign – on the St. George, Mississauga and Scarborough campuses.
Display Your Pride, 2015
U of T’s Positive Space Committee was born in 1995 when a group of faculty, students, and staff formed an ad hoc group to discuss an initiative to increase visibility and talk about sexual diversity. The committee was created through informal networking throughout the campus. Meetings were held to discuss the issues and generate ideas.
The idea of stickers for application to an office door or window, declaring the space to be lesbian- and gay-positive was suggested. A flyer was then produced, explaining the campaign and providing a list of relevant resources to accompany the sticker. The committee proceeded to design the stickers and flyers for broad distribution.
Letters were sent out by the committee, requesting funds and support from various sectors of the University of Toronto community in order to be able to carry out the project and print the stickers. The stickers and flyers were distributed to numerous departments and offices throughout the St. George university campus and thus the campaign was launched, accompanied by press releases, in 1996. During the launch of the campaign, there was considerable publicity that raised awareness and got campus community members talking. In 1997 the sticker and flyer were redrafted by the ad hoc committee.
The Positive Space committees have expanded to the three campuses – Scarborough, Mississauga and St. George, and there are a variety of materials accessible to community members.