Guelph-Humber News

Published on December 2, 2015 | by Emilie Bell     Photography by Per Pettersson*


Humber addresses inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community

Reagan McSwain said Humber College has come a long way within the last few years for the LGBTQ+ community but inclusion is not as simple as making gender-neutral washrooms.

McSwain, a journalism student, was speaking at a LGBTQ+ event held at Humber on Nov. 20 called Transgender Day of Remembrance. During the event, a documentary called Pay It No Mind: Marsha P. Johnston was shown. After, students had a discussion about the challenges they face being part of the LGBTQ+ community on a daily basis.

McSwain said the school now has a good policy for transgendered people. Some things that have recently changed include making the washrooms and the change rooms gender-neutral.

Although policies are slowly changing McSwain said society is still unaware of how to treat transgendered people. The LGBTQ+ community say there is not enough sensitivity training in terms of trans issues.

Humber Student Kenny Dawkis said there is a lack of knowledge about the trans community. Transgendered people get questions like “what do I call you?” and “what do I not call you?” on a daily basis, he said. Dawkis said that the LGBTQ+ community understands that people are not trying to be rude but they may not know how to address the issue. More sensitivity training would help with issues like this.

Co-chair of the Gender and Sexually Diverse Committee at Humber Maureen Carnegie said that trans has also not always even been a part of the lesbian and gay community. There is a false assumption that just because one is queer identified, he/she is a supporter of trans but this is not true. There is still trouble accepting trans into the LGBTQ+ community, “we are not perfect by any means,” said Carnegie.

Another problem is that society does not understand that you are not necessarily male or female, there is a spectrum of genders.  “There is a disconnect between society being comfortable with trans but not comfortable with the process of change,” said Dawkis. He wishes people would be more understanding that the trans process could take years or he/she may not even wish to complete the whole process.

McSwain also brought up the issue of filling out forms. Lots of places only have a male or female box for you to check, when in reality there are many other genders. “When you don’t have a trans box you are saying I don’t exist,” he said. “I always add my own boxes and write down as many different genders that I can think of.”

The LGBTQ+ community wants to hold more events like the Transgender Day of Remembrance and welcomes anyone to come out and learn about diversity and inclusion.

Photo courtesy of Per Pettersson and licensed

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is a third year journalism student who plans to conquer the world one article at a time

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