The SLC Alliance is an educational, social, and supportive group for members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and their allies at St. Lawrence College. We are a mix of 2SLGBTQIA+ community members and allies who all have a common goal of making St. Lawrence College a safer place for everyone. We supply a safe space for students and faculty of the College to meet with other members of their community. We supply educational opportunities, social outlets, and support of the natural human need for emotional connection with others. In conjunction with other initiatives of SLC we help to foster a more positive and welcoming atmosphere for all people who learn, live, and work on our campuses.
Are you interested in joining the SLC Alliance or learning more about 2SLGBTQIA+ resources at SLC? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
National Coming Out Day
Resources from Carmen Law (She/Her/Hers), Director, Belonging, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
History of National Coming Out Day - October 11:
Its roots lie in the U.S. National Coming Out Day, established in 1988, which was the second anniversary of the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights. This day can serve as a form of activism and a means to celebrate 2SLGBTQIA+ identities, decrease stigma, increase awareness, and advocate for change. For some 2SLGBTQIA+ folks this day is an opportunity to celebrate their identities publicly. (University of Waterloo, Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion)
What does “coming out” mean?
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 some 2SLGBTQIA+ folks to define their identities and lived experiences on their own terms, with their own agency. On this day, many members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community may choose to actively ‘come out’ on social media to a few people in their lives, or just to themselves. Coming out looks and feels differently to each person. (University of Waterloo, Human Rights Equity and Inclusion)
‘Coming out’, the expression used to describe the social acknowledgement of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, is a deeply personal process, and often intensely emotional. (EGALE)
Coming out is not a singular moment, but many. This is a constant process for people within the space, time and relationships they’re in. (Coming out as LGBTQ: It’s not one moment, but several, Washington Post)
Coming Out and the Cultural Context
Creating Safe Spaces for someone to Come Out
When someone has chosen to share their identity with you, it demonstrates a level of trust. Reflect on all the ways you have already built trust with that person and continue to confirm and validate this person’s trust for you through your consistent behaviours. Coming out can look different for each person, whether it is their first time or a thousandth time. You creating a safe space for someone to come out is not in the moment someone tells you, but all the moments built up to creating a safe environment.
SLC's Community of pride
To promote awareness around the diversity of the SLC 2SLGBTQIA+ community, the EDI + Belonging Task Force and HR/OD created Pride at SLC profiles in 2021. As a continuation of this work, we invite 2SLGBTQIA+ persons and allies to share your insight into what building a community of Pride at SLC looks like. While we ask you to consider sharing your insight before the end of June in honour of Pride Month, the form will be open year-round.
SLC's 2SLGBTQIA+ employees and students participate and serve in numerous roles and play an integral part in the organization’s decision-making and operations. The diversity of their expertise, heritage, and talents makes SLC stronger. Thanks to their hard work and dedication, we are continuing on our path to create sustainable spaces of belonging.
Polina Buchan (she/her)
I'm a Marketing prof at the School of Business in Kingston, and I am bisexual. It's taken me years to be able to say this clearly and with pride, even though I have always been bisexual. My barriers to coming out have been numerous: fear of judgement, impostor syndrome, and having experienced some LGBTQ2SA+ spaces as less than welcoming to bisexual people, to name a few. But I think my biggest barrier has been lack of representation. I haven't seen many "out" bisexual people in positions of authority, in media, or at school and in my workplaces. There is an outdated 2011 study from UCLA (and not much more since then) that concluded that there are at least as many bisexual people as gay AND lesbian people combined (Gates, 2011). If that's true, where are they? My guess is, they are experiencing similar barriers to being loud and proud about who they are as I have. So, to me, building a community of Pride means being visible, so others can feel like they belong. When we notice ourselves represented in others, it makes us feel seen, heard and embraced by our communities, regardless of whether we need or want to "come out", or not.
Les Casson (she/they)
I’ve been an educator for over thirty years. Most of my teaching years were spent helping students improve their writing and communication skills; however, I also taught a bit of typing and drama to high-school students and have the emotional scars to prove it. I’ve toured as a musician, spent a lot of time on tractors, published a children’s book, recorded some CDs, and earned a few degrees. I tried team sports in my 40s but discovered I’m not that kind of lesbian. I’m a pretty good drummer, but a better writer. I had a spectacular mullet in the 80s, but still had no idea. I’m queer... and also nearsighted. I knew only one of these things in my 20s.
Crystal Graveline (she/her)
Building a Community of Pride is so incredibly important to me as an ally. I see a beautiful community of pride in my friends, family, and SLC community. A wonderful group of people dedicated to human rights and equality and I am proud to be apart of it! My child identifies as non-binary, trans, and pan and I couldn't be prouder of the person they are growing up to be. Each and every person deserves a safe space to express themselves and truly be the person they are meant to be. No matter how you identify, you are welcome and safe at SLC. Love is never wrong.
Katie Irvine (she/her)
I’m Katie Irvine! I’m entering my third year in the Music Theatre – Performance program at St. Lawrence College, and I am a bisexual woman. My journey of emergence into my queer identity was a long one (despite knowing I was not straight since around the age of 10), but I’m so proud to be celebrating my first-ever Pride out of the closet this year! As someone who has only been in relationships that appear straight-passing, it took a long time for me to feel comfortable coming out because I didn’t want to appear as though I was appropriating queer culture or inserting myself into a space where I didn’t belong. The biphobic microaggressions that I witnessed within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community itself, as well as my own internalized homophobia, certainly didn’t help. However, I came to the realization that if I wanted to be my happiest and most authentic self, I needed to extend the same love I have for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to myself. I also realized that my loving a man does not negate my bisexuality, and that my feelings are just as valid as any other queer person’s! Now, I’m so proud of who I am. I wouldn’t change a thing!
Building a community of Pride at SLC means building a place where everyone feels included and safe to talk openly about their gender. This community was a big help in my first two years of school.
As a fierce ally, Building a Community of Pride means contributing to a community of love, peace and acceptance. It means zero tolerance for discrimination and hate. It’s contributing to a community where everyone is empowered and safe to boldly and proudly celebrate, to live our truths, and to unabashedly, deservedly and authentically ‘be’.
Carmen Law (she/her)
I'm Carmen and I'm new to the SLC community! I've been very lucky to have lived across Canada and abroad. It has truly opened my eyes to so many different ways to see, feel, and experience love. Love does not fit in a box or should be hidden away. Instead, it needs to extend its reach and shared widely. I truly believe in the power of being able to celebrate who you are as a whole self! And when you have others to celebrate with, it feels even better. It was more recently, I've been more comfortable with celebrating me and then letting others in to join the party. My journey of queerness has been a long one and it continues to this day. I often told myself "love" is a construct created by large media corporations as a way to sell stories and a dream to then sell products. It was a way to protect myself, to tell myself "love wasn't real". That is, until my partner found me. Building a Community of Pride is not just about inviting all identities to the party and inviting them to dance, it's about actively making the dance floor a comfortable and fun place where people can and want to dance. We are cheering people on while they are dancing, we are sharing their dance with others! It is about building a community where we are all free to dance and dance how we want!
I believe that everyone has a right to be who they are and should never have to change just because they are told to. What building a community of pride means to me as an ally is that every individual in the community can feel accepted and welcome and have the support they need at anytime, but also not have to worry about being judged or discriminated for being who they are. A person should not have to change to fit in or to be accepted individuals should be accepted and be allowed to feel free to express who they truly are. "Never Judge A Book By Its Cover". Building a strong community, working together, keep raising awareness, and making differences will help show that everyone has a right and should never be judged or discriminated!
Terry McGinn (she/her)
For my whole life I’ve tried to be a good representative and advocate for the queer and trans communities. One of my proudest moments as an advocate was being the only out trans-identified member of a national youth summit at which issues facing Canadian youth were discussed and captured. This work informed the decisions and positions taken by the Canadian Secretary of State for Children and Youth during the creation of the Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes. I have worked with youth-focused community groups to help train student resource officers on ways to interact with queer and trans students in their schools. I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to be a member of many organization boards, committees, and panels aimed at improving the lives and experiences of queer and trans youth. I continue to work hard to bring forward, and look for solutions to, the issues facing queer and trans youth in all my work at St. Lawrence College and in our communities.
Kat McMillan (she/her)
I'm Kat and I have been working in the Kingston Library since 2016. I am a cisgender and bisexual woman who is married to a cisgender man. While I primarily identify as Bisexual, I prefer the term Sapphic. My queer journey began in Grade 10, when I kissed a friend of mine at a music festival, and not to be really corny but I liked it. I was lucky in high school that we had a good 2SLGBTQIA+ presence and almost every single one of my close friends was apart of it. A goal in my day to day life is to raise awareness that current or past relationships do not erase anyone's bisexuality, or any sexuality, period. Biphobia has no room at my table. The library is a safe space for everyone. In the adapted words of *NSYNC: "It ain't no lie / Baby, I'm bi bi bi (bi bi)".
My name is Braydon and I identify as a proud gay man. I am currently enrolled in the Social Service Worker program and loving it. I can't wait to get out there and work within our community and help others. Especially people who identify as a member of the LGBTQQ2S+ community. I think building a community of pride to means to me, being able to help build each other up and be there to support one another. To give access to the younger generation in regards to figuring out themselves and understanding their own sexuality or identity to help them grow. I didn't have access to the amount of things teens and kids have these days to help me understand what I was going through.
Tamara Quenneville (she/they)
I identify as a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. To me, building a community of Pride at SLC means acceptance and equality for all members, and normalizing everyone and their identities. It means being able to walk freely and proudly with our identities without the fear of discrimination or potential harm.
Ian Simpson (he/him)
Ian has been a professional actor/singer for over 35 years and has worked at SLC since 2014.He has performed across Canada, the US, Mexico, Japan, and Taiwan. Of the many shows he has done over the years he is honoured to have played roles in musicals that highlight the LGBTQQ2S+ experience. he believes that discussing in class the importance of representation in Musical Theatre and hearing stories from diverse voices is imperative. Part of these discussions is examining musicals that represent the LGBTQQ2S+ community in positive ways and in the future he looks forward to more musicals and plays written by, and about, this wonderful community. “I came out in 1984 when I was a student at Queen’s and felt lucky to have had supportive friends and family. I know that this isn’t the case for everyone and I strive to be an ally and mentor to anyone who may be struggling” For 23 years Ian has split his time between his home in Canada and the San Francisco Bay Area with his partner, Rich.
Richard Webster (he/him/his)
I joined SLC in 2018 as Internationalization Lead, where I led the development of SLC’s first Global Engagement Strategy, and began teaching part-time soon after. Currently, I’m the College’s International Education Manager of Community Development, working to deepen the integration of our international students and graduates in our tri-campus communities.
I "came out" at the age of 21 when I was home from university on Thanksgiving and haven’t looked back since. I’m deeply grateful for being part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and for me, growing up with that feeling of being different became my 'superpower' in the end! It instilled in me a curiosity for the world, an interest in diversity in all its forms, a sensitivity to social inequality and injustice and an open heart. I’ve lived, studied and worked in 5 countries, traveled to many more, and today call Kingston home with my partner Ben and our dog, Archie.
In my view, building SLC’s Community of Pride is about raising awareness, increasing 2SLGBTQ+ visibility, celebrating the community and allyship and ensuring supports and resources, including those that are culturally-inclusive, are available for our students and employees. Happy Pride this month and every month that follows!
Positive Space Initiative
The goal of the Positive Space Initiative is to foster a sense of belonging and inclusion of 2SLGBTQIA+ persons in every aspect of campus life by creating opportunities to increase awareness and engagement in our SLC community.
Positive Space Training
Positive Space is a 90-minute information session aimed at developing increased awareness, understanding, and acceptance of the issues of sexual identity and gender diversity at St. Lawrence College. It is available to all students, staff, and faculty. Additionally, it is a volunteer sticker campaign. After the training, Positive Space participants may choose to:
Display a Positive Space signifier:
- A Positive Space signifier identifies the intention to create an accepting and supportive environment with respect to issues of sexual identity and gender diversity.
- Display a Positive Space sticker in a visible place that you have control over, such as your office or workspace or laptop. If you share a workspace, please ensure that your office mate is also a participant in the program before affixing the sticker to the entrance to your shared space.
- Participants may also add a Positive Space signifier to their email electronic signature.
Be a resource:
- Act in a sensitive and compassionate manner towards the needs of the LGBTQQ2S+ community on campus.
Respect the confidentiality of those who contact you.
- Maintain an up-to-date list of community resources.
- Be an empathetic listener but not a counsellor. Know where to refer people who require more assistance.
- Do not condone homophobic, transphobic, or heterosexist actions.
- Be willing to explain to others what the Positive Space Campaign is and consider referring others to participate.
Positive Space Working Group
Positive Space training is delivered by members of the Positive Space Working Group. This group is comprised of staff members of Student Wellness and Accessibility, Human Resources and Occupational Development, and the School of Contemporary Teaching and Learning who have been trained to deliver the workshop.
How do I participate?
To express your interest in completing Positive Space Training, please email Ashleigh Fortune at email@example.com.