LGBTT* Initiative available for student support
Kelsey James, CONTRIBUTOR
Red River College created the LGBTT* Initiative in 2010, making RRC one of the few Canadian post-secondary institutions with full-time staff dedicated to LGBTT* resources.
Bradley West, the diversity initiatives coordinator, said the LGBTT* Initiative offers a wide range of supports, including training, awareness workshops, and pride educational events available to all students, staff and faculty.
“The LGBTT* Initiative impacts all of us,” said West. “It creates an awareness in the college community on what the expectations are for safety, respect and inclusion.”
West believes the initiative has been successful in meeting its original goal of creating stronger supports and education on campus surrounding gender and sexual identity.
“It began with only six allies at the college in 2010,” said West. “After six years we are over 320 in the college and 79 community based allies.”
West stressed the services are not limited to those identifying as LGBTT*. The Ally Program, a key feature of the initiative, is designed to provide support to those feeling targeted and or discriminated against based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
“Most of our allies would not identify as LGBTT*,” said West. “That is one of the things that make our communities in Canada as strong as they are. We recognize and celebrate our commonalities as well as our differences.”
Adam Taplin, president of the Red River College Students’ Association, believes the initiative allows for those identifying as LGBTT* to feel safe and find a sense of community. “The college does everything it can to make everyone feel included,” said Taplin. “The initiative helps in that overall sense of inclusiveness.”
Taplin also encourages students to access the services, saying supports offered can help them during their time at RRC. He credits both the college and the initiative’s hard work for ensuring a “stellar record when it comes to diversity.”
For current students, staff, and faculty who would like to access LGBTT* services, West urges them to view the initiative’s microsite, rrc.ca/diversity, or contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can access further support via Student Integration Services, Counselling and Accessibility Services, and the Students’ Association. Trainings can also be found through the LEARN site, including an online Gender and Sexuality Awareness Course, where you can become an ally after completion.