Student Community Conference: Breaking Barriers, Building Communities, Moving Beyond LGBQTT Tolerance in Academia and Communities

TitleStudent Community Conference: Breaking Barriers, Building Communities, Moving Beyond LGBQTT Tolerance in Academia and Communities
Faculty/College/UnitVP Academic
Duration1 Year
Project Summary

National conference: To create and host a 2-day national conference on LGBQTT issues in higher education and communities that will bring together students, academics and activists. The goal of this conference is to foster student engagement in creating an environment that empowers universities and communities to move beyond concepts of tolerance as an adequate response to diverse and marginalized communities. LGBQTT, or queer students, staff and faculty on campus have a presence on this campus but too often, both their experiences of success and marginalization are muted and this limits, discourages or prevents full participation in university life. LGBQTT persons are oppressed in ways that encourage and maintain their invisibility and erase their history, struggles and accomplishments. Although some significant gains have been made in recent years, tolerance continues to be the predominant response of the mainstream to challenges from oppressed and marginalized communities. Tolerance, however, does not equate to full acceptance and active, unconditional participation in society that is negotiated on principles of justice and equity. Instead, it implied reluctant and limited acceptance that is granted by those in power on their terms. LGBQTT students on campus still experience struggles around identity development and coming out; shame, isolation and invisibility; effects of homophobia and heterosexism in and out of the classroom; discouragement from pursuing queer academic interests and discrimination and harassment on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. None of these issues will be adequately addressed while working within a framework of tolerance. This conference will explore problems associated with the politics of both intolerance and tolerance and will generate ideas about how LGBQTT-identified individuals, groups and heterosexual allies can empower universities and communities to move beyond tolerance.


  • To examine and critically reflect on the inclusion of LGBQTT issues as both a pedagogical and practical issue in academia.
  • To provide a forum for students, staff and faculty to share in a national dialogue and create partnerships that will foster a learning-centred environment of openness and critical thought.
  • To unpack the structures, knowledges and practices that will move beyond tolerance as the “acceptable” response to LGBQTT issues and persons in the classrooms, research and communities.


While the specific sessions will come from the response to our call for proposals, three central themes and some suggested topics for each have been identified at this stage. These are:

  1. The Learning Environment and Curricula: Sessions will deal with issues such as curricula change and diversity; anti-homophobic teacher training; teaching beyond tolerance; integrating difference into the classroom.
  2. Student Leadership in Community Building: Sessions will focus on establishing queer-straight alliances; moving beyond conflict to working with and across differences; advocacy, “proactive” activism, building for the future.
  3. Beyond Tolerance: Affirmative and Respectful Policies, Practices and Services: Sessions will consider issues of being “out” in academia or student services; institutional support, personal mentoring, breaking barriers and establishing positive environments.
Funding Details
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2003/2004
Year 1: Project TypeSmall TLEF
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorAnne-Marie Long
Year 1: Funded Amount20,000
Year 1: Team Members

Anne-Marie Long, Equity Office
Mike Baker, Co-Chair, Pride UBC
Jordana Greenblaft, Co-Chair, Pride UBC
Joy Dixon, Co-Chair, Critical Studies in Sexuality
Thomas Kemple, Co-Chair, Critical Studies in Sexuality
Chris Fennell, VP Academic and External Affairs, Graduate Student Society
Sneja Gunew, Director, Centre for Research in Women's Studies and Gender Relations
Tineke Helliwg, Chair, Women's Studies Undergraduate Programme
Jennifer Rodrigues, Counsellor, Counselling Services