Equity, Diversity and Inclusion on Campus

Pride

National Coming Out Day

October 10, 2023

October 11th is recognized in Canada as National Coming Out Day – a positive celebration of queerness that acknowledges the importance of 2SLGBTQIA+ people feeling free and confident to share their true identity with the world. Honouring and supporting those who have come out, those who will come out today, and those who cannot or choose not to, celebrates their choice – while raising awareness of the challenges members of the community face and encouraging a more accepting and supportive society.  

National Coming Out Day was founded by American activists Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary in 1988 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of over half a million people marching for queer rights in Washington, D.C. – an event that resulted in the founding of several (then) LGBTQ organizations. The founders’ belief was that homophobia thrives in an atmosphere of silence and ignorance and that once people know that they have loved ones who are 2SLGBTQIA+, they are far less likely to maintain homophobic or oppressive views.

Coming out is an expression that describes a process of socially acknowledging one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Coming out can provide space and opportunity for 2SLGBTQIA+ folx to define their identity and lived experiences on their own terms, with their own agency. Because coming out looks and feels different to each person and is an ongoing process, it can also be complicated and stressful, necessitating continuous courage and strength. Coming out is not a required process for anyone and all identities are valid regardless of whether others know this about someone or not. 

It’s important to observe this day in a meaningful way, and part of that includes celebrating the many wonderful and diverse stories of this often-shared experience for 2SLGBTQIA+ people.

Everyone’s story is different, and everyone is on a different point in their journey but sharing our experiences can help us feel connected and inspired – so even if you don’t have a story to share yet, it doesn’t mean this day isn’t for you. Sharing an experience with others may seem insignificant to some but for people who have struggled to find acceptance, hearing a story can assure them “I’m not alone.” Coming out is an empowering experience and allies showing support continues to be a critical form of activism to dispel stereotypes and eradicate hate and homophobia. 

At RRC Polytech, we believe that diversity is our strength. We are committed to creating inclusive learning and working environments where everyone feels sale, respected, and celebrated.

Today is an excellent opportunity to consider the ways each of us can make our learning and working spaces safe(r), more welcoming and more inclusive; and how we can support 2SLGBTQIA+ friends and colleagues.

Below are resources and further information on being allies for everyone – it doesn’t matter who you are, everyone deserves to be treated with kindness, dignity, and respect. If you have any questions or comments, please email us at diversity@rrc.ca.

Resources:

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

May 15, 2023

May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia – a day that was created to raise awareness of the discrimination and violence faced by individuals of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

This year’s theme is “Together Always: United in Diversity”. At RRC Polytech, we believe that diversity is our strength. We are committed to creating inclusive learning and working environments where everyone feels sale, respected, and celebrated. Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia have no place within our college community.

Below are resources and further information on homophobia, transphobia and biphobia to support your learning journeys so that you can counter fear and panic with compassion and reason, and to make a difference in all our communities.

RRC Polytech is committed to being allies for everyone – it doesn’t matter who you are, everyone deserves to be treated with kindness, dignity, and respect.

On May 17 (every day), take a moment to reflect upon how you can stand up and speak out against discrimination; how you can create a safe and inclusive space that respects all individuals; and how you can support 2SLGBTQIA+ friends and colleagues.

If you have any questions or comments, please email us at diversity@rrc.ca.

Resources:

Being a 2SLGBTQIA+ Ally

Allyship is leadership

How to be an Ally to a Bi+ Person

What Does Trans Allyship Look Like?

Fondation Émergence: The LBGTQ Phobias Are Just As Irrational campaign

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

CCDI’s Glossary of Terms – which includes the following definitions:

  • Homophobia: a fear, dislike, or hatred of and discrimination against LGBTQ2+ people. Homophobia presents in many forms, and can be structural/systemic, interpersonal, or internalized.
  • Transphobia is the fear, dislike, or hatred of and discrimination against trans* people. Transphobia exists through offensive jokes, exclusion, denial of services, employment discrimination, intentional misgendering, harassment, and violence.
  • Biphobia: Fear, dislike, or hatred of and discrimination against bisexual people. Biphobia presents through offensive jokes, exclusion, bi-erasure, harassment, and violence. Biphobia exists both within and outside of the LGBTQ2+ community

International Day of Pink: April 12

April 6, 2023

International Day of Pink, also known as Day of Pink, is celebrated annually on the second Wednesday of April. It’s when we wear pink to celebrate diversity, acceptance, courage, and inclusivity within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and beyond.

You may be thinking, didn’t we just do this in February? Not quite, February is when we celebrate Pink Shirt Day.

Pink Shirt Day was created when two students attending high school in Halifax were upset about the bullying that took place when one of their peers wore a pink shirt to school on the first day. Together, those two students started an international movement that takes a stand against bullying.

While similar, Day of Pink was created to specifically take a stance on bullying and discrimination faced by members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. The day, inspired by Pink Shirt Day, was created by the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD), previously known as Jer’s Vision. The purpose was to stand up against homophobia, transphobia, bullying, and to promote allyship as we move towards a future free of discrimination.

Day of Pink is for people who have previously, or recently, experienced discrimination because of their sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression. It’s for people to stand up and say, “this is not okay!” when these kinds of things happen in schools, workplaces, or anywhere. It’s for creating allyship. It’s for people to band together and be responsible for a future of kindness and inclusivity. We are strongest when we are together.

So, how can you take part in this global event? It’s simple, on April 12th show your support by wearing something pink (get your shirt in our Campus Stores). It can even be your favourite cardigan, newest shoes, or a bracelet. Just a little something to show you care and stand by the 2SLGBTQIA+ community members at RRC Polytech, Winnipeg, and all over the world.

Take Pledge Against Hate!

Where:

  • The Spectrum (Notre Dame Campus FM66)
  • P407 (Exchange District Campus)

When: April 12 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

What:

  • Sign the pledge against hate, intolerance, and oppression, and
  • share a photo with the Pledge Poster with #DayOfPink.

We look forward to standing together for a brighter community.

Trans Day of Visibility

March 22, 2023

Written By: Justine Hawley, Resource Management Technician, Library and Academic Success Centre, Gender and Sexual Working Group Member

On November 20, 2022, RRC Polytech recognized Transgender Day of Remembrance and highlighted some Canadian icons who have inspired future generations of transgendered individuals to be who they are, and stand up for themselves and their community. We remembered the leaders, the trailblazers and the loved ones we have lost.

Even in the darkest times it is important that we still celebrate the light around us. Did you know that Canada is the first country to collect and publish data on gender diversity from a national census? Or that younger Canadian generations were three-to-seven times more comfortable expressing their identities? Change still needs to continue to happen until equity can be reached. However, the fact that the average life span of someone identifying under this umbrella has risen nearly ten years, is telling us we are marching in the right direction.

Manitoba is a great place to live. Rich in cultural diversity, we have fantastic artists, amazing restaurants, and we didn’t get the title of ‘Friendly Manitoba’ for no reason. Our beautiful province is also home to some amazing Two Spirited, transgender, and non-binary heroes that are continuing to advocate and stand up for trans* rights.

Shandi Strong (she/her/hers)

What can be said about Shandi Strong that hasn’t been said before? She is a pillar for the transgender community in western Canada. In 2016, she was the first openly transgendered person to run for provincial office. She’s been on the board for Winnipeg Pride, Manitobans for Human Rights and Our Own Health Centre. She even led the very first Trans March in Manitoba. It is evident by all the amazing work she’s done and all of her accomplishments that she is a shining star of Manitoba’s trans community. When asked why she loves her trans identity, she said:

“Before transition, I spent most of my life scared and trying to fit in. Finding connections and chosen family within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community finally helped me see myself and my potential. The journey wasn’t easy but because I endured it, I emerged stronger and more confident today than I ever thought possible.”

Feather Talia (he/she/they)

Art comes in many forms and Winnipeg is not lacking in that department. Feather Talia is an example of the drag queen scene in Manitoba. She not only performs fantastic, lively shows but also represents the Two-Spirit (2S) community. Originally, she started her drag career in Regina, SK, before making a home in Winnipeg. She’s works with the Sunshine Bunch through the Sunshine House, a community drop-in and resource centre that focuses on inclusion and harm-reduction. She’s also a member of the very talented group The Bannock Babes. When asked about why she loves her 2S identity and how it’s positively impacted her life, she said:

“I love my 2S identity because it just makes sense. For all my teen years, and some of my early 20s [sic], I was confused about my own personal identity (like most people are) and when I stumbled on the term Two Spirit and doing my own research, something in me just clicked. I do believe I carry Two Spirits within me. One masculine and one feminine. This also helps make me a good storyteller. Being 2S also helps me with my drag persona! It truly makes me the best version of me!”

Kael McKenzie (he/him/his)

Did you know that Manitoba is the home to the very first transgendered judge in Canada? The Honourable Judge Kael McKenzie made his way to the history books in 2015. Not only does he represent the vibrant Métis community, he’s also showing the world that you can be successful and live life as your authentic self. He has a long list of accomplishments such as serving as the Manitoba Chair for the Canadian Bar Association, acting president of the Rainbow Resource Centre and he is a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. He’s a husband and a father of two and when asked why he loves his trans* identity he said:

“When I transitioned, I found myself. For the first time in my life, I felt comfortable in my own skin. I cannot imagine being anyone other than I am now. I have immense gratitude that I live in a time in history where I can be who I am and still be able to work in the profession that I love.”

As you can see, there are amazing Manitobans who are the warriors of change, inclusivity and diversity. Their contributions to the transgender community, which they are a part of, are shaping history and shaking up the Cis-tym. We appreciate and applaud them, and all the other people, paving the way to an even more inclusive future in Canada.

Sign a Heart in Support of Trans Rights

On Friday, March 31, 2023, you’re invited to join us in The Spectrum (Located on the Mall Level of the Notre Dame Campus) to celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. by signing a heart to show your support, and enjoy some tasty treats.

If you or anyone you know is in crisis, contact one of these supports for transgender-specific guidance:

Resources:

If you have any questions or comments, please email us at diversity@rrc.ca.

Sign a heart in support of Trans Rights

March 17, 2023

Join us on March 31 in the NDC Spectrum (FM66) to show your support for human rights for Transgender individuals. International Trans Day of Visibility is an annual event dedicated to celebrating Trans people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by Transgender people worldwide. One in 300 people in Canada aged 15 and older are transgender or non-binary.

Let’s showcase positive messages of support to show RRC Polytech is a safe and inclusive space for those identifying on the Trans spectrum. Please take a few minutes of your day to join us and sign your support.

  • March 31st in the Spectrum (FM66)
  • 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Sign a heart in support of Trans Rights
  • Enjoy a sweet snack

Let’s use this day to rally support, build awareness and commit to an equitable future for those who identify on the Trans Spectrum at RRC Polytech and beyond.

The Rainbow Walkways Project and RRC Polytech’s Personalized Pride Design

August 26, 2022

RRC Polytech’s personalized Pride design is now permanently painted on the sidewalks in prominent locations at the Notre Dame Campus, Exchange District Campus and Portage La Prairie Campus, collectively known as the Rainbow Walkways Project.   

The College’s Pride design is an evolution of the Progress Pride flag that includes representation for all 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex and Asexual) community members, and includes specific Indigenous elements.  

“The Pride design reflects RRC Polytech’s on-going commitment to embedding equity, diversity and inclusion, and continuing our reconciliation journey as a College community,” says Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resource Officer. “As an organization, we will continue to evolve our practices, policies and physical spaces to ensure that our staff, students and community feel accepted and welcome on our campuses.”

Read More →

Beyond Pride Month: Rainbow Walkways Project

July 4, 2022

To celebrate Pride beyond the month of June and to support our on-going commitment to embedding equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do, RRC Polytech will be getting brighter over the summer!

Pictured: RRC Polytech’s rainbow walkway design, incorporating the Progress Pride Flag, and Two Spirit and intersex representation.

In consultation with the Knowledge Keepers’ Council and external partners at Rainbow Resource Centre, the College has created a walkway design that includes the elements of the Progress Pride Flag and also incorporates Two Spirit peoples and intersex folx.

This upcoming rainbow walkway project symbolizes the work we have done, and the work will continue do after the paint dries.

The first rainbow walkway will be painted at the Notre Dame Campus near the bus loop entrance, and the College anticipates painting walkways at the Exchange District and Regional campuses over the course of the next year.

An Overview of Pride Month at RRC Polytech

Pride Month and Beyond at RRC Polytech

June 28 marked the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, also known as the Stonewall Uprising. This uprising was a galvanizing force for LGBT political activism, leading to development of numerous gay rights organizations, including GLAAD, PFLAG and the Gay Liberation Front. It is important to recognize this date as the struggle for rights continues – locally and internationally – and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community is still subject to violence, discrimination, social and economic isolation, along with many other inequities.

Throughout June, RRC Polytech has participated in and hosted events and initiatives to support learning about the history of 2SLGBTQIA+ movements and how we can move forward together in making our campuses safer and more inclusive spaces. The following outlines some of our Pride activities this past month as well as resources to help you along your journey to understanding and allyship beyond Pride Month.

Raising the Progress Pride Flag and Adopting the 2SLGBTQIA+ Acronym

To mark the start of Pride Month, RRC Polytech raised the Progress Pride flag at the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses. As June is also Indigenous Peoples History Month, the College announced alongside the flag raising that we will officially use the acronym 2SLGBTQIA+ to respectfully acknowledge members of the Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual communities and the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify. Leading with 2S reflects the importance of Two-Spirit people in Indigenous cultures, which was an identity that was stripped from Indigenous people through colonization and the residential school system.

Read the Pride news release.

Pride Parade

The Pride Winnipeg Parade is one of Canada’s long-standing Pride parades, and after pandemic postponement, the event returned on June 5, 2022.  Hundreds of RRC Polytech staff, students, faculty, and family members walked together in support of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

Click here to read more about the College’s participation in the Pride Winnipeg Parade.

View the event photo album.

Diversity Speaker Series: Pride

As part of the Diversity Speaker Series, the Anti-Racism Committee hosted a keynote session A History of Pride in Winnipeg: The Struggles, The Victories, The Challenges Ahead, followed by Q&A with Jonathan Niemczak, Chair and CEO of the Canadian Pride Historical Society, Past President of Pride Winnipeg, and a gender, sexuality, and relationship (GSRD) advocate with over fifteen years of community leadership experience.

A recording of the event will be available to view in the coming weeks! Please stay tuned to Staff News and Staff Forum.

CMHR Film Screening and Panel Discussion

In partnership with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, RRC Polytech hosted a screening of The Fruit Machine – a documentary about the LGBT purge amongst public servants in Canada from the 1950s to 1990s ­– followed by a panel discussion.

Learn more about the film and LGBT purge online at fruitmachine.ca

Pride Vigil and New 2SLGBTQIA+ Scholarships

The RRC Polytech Students Association (RRCSA) hosted a Pride Vigil on June 3, in advance of the Pride Winnipeg Parade, to acknowledge the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and allies who have helped pave the road to equality. The RRCSA also announced a new award and a new scholarship for students who are part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

Learn more about the award and scholarship at rrcsa.ca

Lighting up the Elgin Avenue Plaza for Pride

A new projector was recently installed above the Elgin Avenue Plaza. For Pride Month and to recognize the College’s allyship with and commitment to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community feeling heard, seen, and valued, the Progress Pride flag is currently illuminating the area.

Read more and see the current projection.

More Pride Resources

Our learning and support for and allyship with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community doesn’t stop after Pride Month. RRC Polytech has an evolving list of resources to support learning and allyship, available online at rrc.ca.

Raising the Progress Pride Flag

June 14, 2022

RRC Polytech staff and students gathered to recognize and celebrate the start of Pride Week on May 27, by raising the Progress Pride flag at the Notre Dame Campus, and subsequently at the Exchange District Campus.

The new flag still honours the classic rainbow design, but adds a five-stripe chevron, indicating forward momentum, and includes the baby blue and light pink colors of the Trans flag, brown and black stripes representing people of colour, and white to represent those who are transitioning, intersex, or identify outside of the gender binary.

Diversity is one of our greatest strengths, so we strive to provide a barrier free environment for all individuals to succeed in their academic, employment, and research goals. This flag serves as a beacon of hope for many in an oft-marginalized community. It represents the College’s dedication to continue to push for change and ensure acceptance for all. 

Pride 2021

June 1, 2021

A week of live events and self-guided resources that explore LGBTQ2+ inclusion and the Two-Spirit experience.

We are excited to offer a week of opportunities for us to gather as a community, create safer spaces and learn together.

June is Pride Month and National Indigenous History Month, and at the College we have very strong Indigenous supports as well as powerful commitments through diversity and inclusion for LGBTQ2+. However, we witnessed the opportunity for education, enlightenment, and further inclusion for Two-Spirit persons. During Pride 2021 we have decided to highlight Two-Spirit identity, and provide opportunities for knowledge sharing and the creation of safe(r) spaces as we work towards enhancing inclusion and equity at the College.

The week features three live virtual opportunities as well as self-guided films and resources for you to take in. The live events will provide opportunities for you to engage in the conversation, share in our Healing Lodge, and hear lived experiences with special guests that will help us learn more about the meaning of Two-Spirit — from pre-colonization to the present. Live events will be held by either WebEx or Microsoft teams.

As you participate in this week’s events strong emotions may arise. Be sure to take breaks and practice good self-care. To assist you in this we invited Adriene Shum to record a guided video meditation on the theme of acceptance. Watch the recording here>

Read More →

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

Learn more ›