LGBTs still waiting for a “positive space” room

10956171_806264949453920_871921029_nSTORY BY CHANELLE FAGON-TURNER

Two years after first requesting a “safe-space” room for LGBTQ students, Sheridan students are still waiting.

A petition has started to implement a designated “positive space” room that would provide an inclusive, supportive club atmosphere and education for the school’s LGBT community and allies.

The petition, called Implement a Positive Space Campaign, was started on Nov. 5 by Diana Bala, co-president of Sheridan Pride club at Davis Campus.

“A positive space helps to identify safe and more inclusive spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersexed, two-spirited students, staff, faculty and alumni as well as allies,” Bala said in an interview.

“It’s a means of finding and accessing resources and answers. Having such a campaign would hopefully encourage students to be themselves regardless of where they are coming from, and that’s always important especially when we have enough stresses from school work already.”



Sheridan has a Gay Straight Alliance club (Trafalgar) and a Pride club (Davis) which both hold weekly meetings and annual events.

Bala is a former University of Toronto student and says she had a great experience with the LGBT group at the school.

OUT@UTM is an inclusive LGBT “safe space” group at the University of Toronto that organizes social events and campaigns with the school’s student union (UTMSU) including their most recent Pee in Peace campaign for multi-stall/gender neutral bathrooms on campus, aimed at helping transgender students avoid discrimination. UTM already has 11 single-stall/gender neutral washrooms.

“Fifty per cent of trans fold have been assaulted or harassed in a public washroom,” said Miranda Jurilj, LGBTQ co-ordinator at the UTM’s student union.

Her goal for the campaign is help transgender students avoid the risk of unwanted attention and harassment when using the single stall/gender neutral bathrooms.

There has been verbal backlash from peers toward the campaign. “I think it’s just a lack of awareness,” said Jurilj.

An ethics committee-approved survey will be available to Sheridan students, faculty, and staff Jan. 26 to address the petition, the desires of the school and the LGBT community.

“We need to figure out a little more about what everybody wants in a space, what the benefits of the space like this would be, what other schools have done it, where it would be,” said Jenna Pulver, Student Union president.

She explained that the designated room would have to be created at each campus and her main priority and concern is providing space fairly at each of the large three campuses.

According to SU meeting minutes from July 2012, the request for an LGBT “safe space” was presented to SU by a former member of the board.

Leslie Pulsifer, SU cubs co-ordinator (Trafalgar) said that because time is short for SU members, who usually serve for a one-to two-year term, and therefore they want to satisfy everyone.

“There are so many marginalized groups, we want to be able to cater to all of them. Because of the turnover rate of students, we have people asking for different things.”

Bala’s petition is viewable at

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