Sexual and Gender Diversity


What is gender?
Gender is a socially constructed identity referring to a person’s internal sense of self. Gender in our society is often understood as a binary, where there are two genders that are “opposites” from one another: female/girl/woman and male/boy/man. However, there are an infinite number of genders that do not align with the gender binary, and many people’s genders are not the same as the one assigned to them at birth. 

There are many adjectives people use to identify their gender, including non binary, genderqueer, gender fluid, and agender; these words reference experiences of gender that include having multiple genders, having no gender, having gender that is variable, and or having gender that falls outside the descriptive capacities of the gender binary. All of these words mean different things to the different people who use them.

What is sexuality?
Sexuality refers to a person’s experiences of aesthetic, romantic, and physical attraction to others; their behaviour based on this attraction; and their internal sense of self in these experiences and behaviours. We all experience attraction in various ways — from not at all, to under certain circumstances, to often — and to various genders — one gender, a couple genders, to multiple genders. 

There are many adjectives people use to identify their sexuality outside of heterosexual, sexual, romantic, and monogamous, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, Two Spirit (a closed term specific to Indigenous people), pansexual, aromantic, asexual, and non-monogamous. Additional identity terms are also used and continually created to suit the needs of its user base. 

Marginalization by gender and sexuality
People marginalized by virtue of their gender and or their sexuality — that is, people whose genders and sexualities are considered “different” by normative standards — can have intersecting identities that can increase their marginalization in society. Marginalization happens based on in terms of their racialization, ability, age, neurological experience of the world, and wealth.

For example, the “2S” in acronyms such as LGBTQ2SPIA+ represents the word Two Spirit, which is a term employed by many Indigenous people to describe their experiences of gender and/or sexuality as it relates to their Indigeneity.

Both sexuality and gender identity, among others, are protected grounds under the University of Alberta’s Discrimination, Harassment and Duty to Accommodate Policy.

All Gender Washrooms & Campus Map
Single use, all-gender washrooms have been identified across North campus to enhance washroom accessibility for transgender and binary non conforming individuals on campus. Locations can be found online on the campus map under Quick Finds by selecting All Gender Washrooms.

Name and Gender Marker Changes
The Office of the Registrar strives to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students and  assists students one-on-one with name and gender marker changes in the University system, or any question related to gender inclusivity, records, and forms.

For further assistance or support in the area of name changes, preferred first name usage, or gender marker changes, please contact Carlo Dimailig at the Office of the Registrar.

Human Resource Services (HRS) is committed to assisting and supporting staff and faculty members transitioning in the workplace, and maintains a page of information and resources to assist in the process.

CCID changes can be made here.

Gender Inclusive Housing in Residence
Gender Inclusive Housing is a housing option in which students are assigned a unit regardless of the students sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression. Residence Services is committed to working with all students to meet their housing needs in an environment that values diversity and promotes dignity of all people.

Gender Inclusive Housing is offered in rooms and apartments throughout campus. Incoming students should email housing@ualberta.ca confidentially to request Gender Inclusive Housing.

UAPS Community Liaison Officer
Peace Officer Steven Buonsante is the Community Liaison Officer for University of Alberta Protective Services (UAPS). He is available to address any sexual orientation and gender identity questions or concerns related to the safety and security of those in the University of Alberta community. Steven can be contacted by email at steven.buonsante@ualberta.ca. All inquiries are treated with the utmost confidentiality.

Sexual & Gender Diversity Support

The Landing
The Landing is a student space offering support for gender and sexual diversity. Gender and sexual diversity includes LGBTTQQPIA+ communities and individuals, as well as their friends, family, and loved ones. Services offered by The Landing include drop-in hours, Rainbow Peers, Trans Meetup Night, and more.

C.H.E.W. Project
A team of Comprehensive Health Education Workers support queer sexual health by providing zine making and empowerment workshops, HIV & STI testing, sex education workshops, and individual meetings.

The CHEW Office is located at 5-186 Education North, University of Alberta. Call 780-492-3740 or email CHEWproject@ualberta.ca.

The Family Resilience Project
The Family Resilience Project operates year-round to provide evidence-informed professional supports, including counselling for sexual and gender minority children, youth (under 25 years), families, and community agencies in the Edmonton region. For more information, email families@ualberta.ca or call 780-248-1971.

Trans and Gender Questioning Youth Support Group
A facilitated trans and gender questioning peer-to-peer social/support group for youth between 16 and 25 as part of the Family Resilience Project at the Institute for Sexual Minorities Studies and Service (iSMSS) at the University of Alberta. The group meets on the second Wednesday of each month 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. in 5-109 Education North Building. For more information email families@ualberta.ca or call 780-248-1971.

Safe Spaces Initiative, Climate Report, and Safe Spaces Report Card
Developed and implemented by the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS), the Safe Spaces Initiative is built on the premise that our University campuses should be safe places – physically, emotionally, and intellectually – for sexual and gender minority students, faculty, and staff. All members of the U of A community should be recognized, respected, and accommodated across identities and differences in all aspects of University life.

Organizations both on and off campus can request Safe Spaces workshops on decreasing the barriers many members of LGBTQ2S+ communities experience. Workshops run one or two hours long, and provide:

  • an explanation of the origins of homophobia and transphobia,
  • exercises to demonstrate how these kinds of discrimination play out in society, and
  • participatory exercises to work on incorporating a greater understanding of how much gender and sexuality assumptions play out in our day to day lives.

The workshop also provides participants with opportunities for self reflection — both as individuals and as members of institutional organizations — on how to create and maintain environments that are accessible for and accountable to people of all genders and sexualities. To book a workshop, email safeuofa@ualberta.ca.

The Safe Spaces Climate Report highlights the development, findings, and recommendations of the first research conducted on the campus climate for LGBTQ2S+ undergraduate students at the University of Alberta (Kinkartz, Wells, & Hillyard, 2013).

Released in March 2015 as part of UAlberta Pride Week, the Safe Spaces Report Card is a community indicator to see how we are doing as an institution in implementing the 26 recommendations from the University of Alberta’s Safe Spaces Climate Survey Report.

UAPS Community Liaison Officer
Peace Officer Steven Buonsante is the Community Liaison Officer for University of Alberta Protective Services (UAPS). He is available to address any sexual orientation and gender identity questions or concerns related to the safety and security of those in the University of Alberta community. Please e-mail him at steven.buonsante@ualberta.ca. All inquiries are treated with the utmost confidentiality.

LGBTQ* Supportive Services

A complete campus resource list is available here. 

Student Groups

OUTreach
OUTreach, a student run social group, exists to promote positive and inclusive spaces at the University of Alberta and to promote the queer community both on campus and in the broader Edmonton area. OUTreach meets Tuesdays at 5:00 p.m. in the Heritage Lounge in Athabasca Hall and is involved with various events throughout the year.

OUTlaw
OUTlaw Alberta is a student club, within the University of Alberta's Faculty of Law, to serve and aid queer law students and their allies. Their primary goal is to promote a queer positive atmosphere at the Law School and do so by providing information to current and prospective students about queer issues at the School, University and greater Edmonton community. For more information, contact outlaw@ualberta.ca.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Advocacy Committee
The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Advocacy Committee (SGA) is a subcommittee of the Medical Students’ Association. They are dedicated to advocating for curricular changes to reflect LGBT issues in medicine, promoting awareness and understanding of unique health issues facing LGBT persons, and supporting the network for LGBT-identified students, residents, staff, and faculty.

Augustana Queers and Allies (AQUA)
Augustana Queers and Allies (AQUA) provides a welcoming, safe, and positive atmosphere for all students, staff and community members at the University of Alberta's campus in Camrose, Alberta. Through a variety of events and awareness initiatives, as well as weekly meetings, AQUA celebrates diverse and fluid gender and sexual expressions. AQUA is a space for queer people and their allies who want to build community and promote acceptance at Augustana. For more information, contact sga@ualberta.ca.

Campus Events

Rainbow Welcome
Geared towards promoting visibility and involvement early in the academic year, the University of Alberta is offering a series of Rainbow Welcome events during the fall term. Detailed event information may be found at www.prideweek.ualberta.ca and www.thelandingualberta.ca

Pride Week: 2017 details to come!

Community Involvement

Feminists at the University of Alberta (FUA)
Feminists at the University of Alberta (FUA) is an attempt to create a unified group for feminism on campus. The goals of Feminists at the University of Alberta include providing an inclusive social network for all feminists at the University, providing resources and support for feminist activities and research, and more.

The FUA maintains the Winnie Tomm Reading Room in 1-15 Assiniboia Hall with office hours Monday & Wednesday from 12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. and Tuesday & Thursday from 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m., or by appointment. For more information, contact fua@ualberta.ca

Camp fYrefly and fYrefly in Schools
Camp fYrefly is Canada's only national leadership retreat for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirited, intersexed, queer, questioning, and allied youth. Based on Camp fYrefly, fYrefly in Schools aims to increase awareness of the impact of homophobic/transphobic bullying and equip students with the tools they need to challenge prejudice and discrimination and to become effective allies for diversity, equity, and human rights within their schools and communities.

Alumni Involvment

Pride Alumni Chapter 
The Pride Alumni Chapter provides opportunities for sexual and gender minority and and allied alumni and friends to meet, socialize, and support current students & LGBTQ programs on U of A campuses. Collectively, they are committed to making the University of Alberta a more welcoming, inclusive and supportive place for all LGBTQ students, faculty and staff. All U of A graduates of any age are invited to participate. For more information, contact cmyhre@ualberta.ca or chapters@ualberta.ca.

Scholarships

Orlando Books Collective Entrance Award (undergraduate)
Awarded to students entering their first year at the University of Alberta in any undergraduate degree program. Selection based on demonstrated leadership qualities and involvement in school and community activities. Preference given to students who have demonstrated commitment to the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirited, or queer communities. One $1000 award is available each year.

Michael Phair Leadership Award (undergraduate)
Michael Phair Leadership Award is the first lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, or queer undergraduate specific award in the history of the University of Alberta. Selection is based on demonstrated leadership qualities and involvement in extracurricular and community activities. Preference is given to undergraduate students who have demonstrated commitment to the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirited, or queer communities. Two awards are available annually.

Stephen and Lynn Mandel Graduate Scholarship in Sexual and Gender Minority Studies
Stephen and Lynn Mandel Graduate Scholarship in Sexual and Gender Minority Studies is the first lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, or queer (LGBTQ) specific graduate scholarship to be offered in the history of the University of Alberta. This scholarship will be awarded to a graduate student at the University of Alberta with superior academic achievement and quality research focused on sexual and gender minority studies and their application in advocating for sexual and gender minorities in educational and community contexts. Recipients will be selected on the basis of academic standing and their research and advocacy/outreach profile.

Ronald Gordon Rowswell Graduate Award
Awarded to a full-time or part-time student with satisfactory academic standing registered in a graduate degree program. Selection is based on the significance of their program of studies and/or research to the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, or queer communities. This award is tenable only once in a graduate student’s career.

Academic Resources

LGBTQ* Library guide
This guide highlights University of Alberta Libraries' many resources on LGBTQ* issues, including books, articles, and databases. They have also assembled the many available resources for teachers on how to support students and integrate LGBTQ* content into the curriculum.

iSMSS
The Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS) at the University of Alberta leads groundbreaking research that affects policy development, intervention, education and community outreach for sexual and gender minorities (SGM), nationally and globally.