June 26, 2023
OUSA releases policy paper titled “Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ Inclusion”
TORONTO, ON - The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is proud to release the second policy paper approved by OUSA’s Spring 2023 General Assembly, Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ Inclusion. The paper was written, approved, and published by students to express their concerns and offer recommendations regarding inclusive policies and institutional practices on Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ students.
“Along with ongoing celebrations for Pride month, understanding, learning, and advocating for the needs of Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ students is a vital component in our allyship efforts,” said Kayla Han, former Vice-President of Government and Stakeholder Relations at the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union. “We must address the gaps in post-secondary in order to ensure queer youth have safe and inclusive academic spaces.”
Institutional approaches towards Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ inclusion, from staff and faculty training to accessible facilities on campus can have immediate and lasting impacts on students’ academic satisfaction and degree completion. However, there are many prevalent issues that serve as barriers for Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ communities. Specifically, students are concerned about the lack of rigorous training for staff on gender-inclusive practices; unwelcoming campus climates; the lack of gender-neutral infrastructure; and ineffective policies. To address these concerns, students have put forth recommendations that would improve Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ sense of belonging, and strengthen policies to be more equitable.
"While some steps have been taken to improve the inclusivity of Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ students on campuses, we are emphasizing that much more needs to be done," said Andrea LePage, former Vice-President of External Affairs at the Brock University Students’ Union. "Living in a cis-heternormative society with rising homophobia and transphobia rhetoric is only instilling fear in queer students from living as their authentic selves. We are hopeful that the provincial government will demonstrate their commitment to allyship through actionable policy change."
This policy paper and its recommendations were developed by students at OUSA’s member schools. It was passed on March 5th, 2023, at OUSA's Spring General Assembly, held at Queen’s University.
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OUSA represents the interests of 160,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at nine student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
Tiffany Li Wu
Operations & Communications Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance