Humber welcomes change on campus during Pride Month

Jun 7, 2024 | Culture, Life

Students, faculty and alumni gathered outside the Humber Lakeshore campus on Thursday to participate in the “Pride in the Park” picnic.

The event marks the first week of Pride Month and is one of several events created for the Humber community to enjoy this June.

The relaxing music and chatter made event coordination seem effortless, but much work went into ensuring the event was a safe place for all.

Matthew Travill, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for Humber’s LGBTQ+ Resource Centre, said the event was a result of his desire to make Pride events about community engagement.

Travill was appointed as the acting head of the LGBTQ+ Resource Centre in 2018 and said he thinks it is important to offer students a time and place to connect in laid-back environments where safety is key.

He said he has noticed positive change take hold across Humber campuses in acknowledging LGBTQ+ students and their needs, especially in the last few months.

“We became a part of SSE [Student Success and Engagement] in May, so it’s still quite new, and change takes time,” Travill said.

Humber Student Success and Engagement is a college department that includes other student groups such as Indigenous Education and Engagement (IE&E) and Black Academic Success and Engagement (BASE).

The department also oversees financial aid, orientation, residence, housing and career services.

Absorbing the Resource Centre into SSE acknowledges that LGBTQ+ students need extra support as they navigate the academic and working world.

Travill said the steps being taken by the school are important because they set a precedent that plans should turn into action.

“If you make these kinds of plans, you need to follow through, and they did,” he said.

Humber students said they also noticed important changes at the North Campus athletics centre, where the space is currently being renovated to include gender-neutral changing rooms.

However, a current Humber student attending the picnic said that more could still be done, especially outside of Pride month.

A student who wanted to remain anonymous said Humber needs to do more to educate its faculty and staff about topics important to LGBTQ+ students, such as accommodating students with gender-diverse pronouns.

“This happens with lots of corporations too, not just Humber. There’s a lot of performative support during Pride month but once that month is over it just kind of stops,” the student said.

SSE created a faculty handbook to offer an introduction to the services provided by the department and what it can offer students.

Humber created an inclusive language guide at the beginning of the year to outline proper terminology to support inclusion on campus.

The guide explains terminology to do with sex and gender, as well as how to refer to community members with various sexualities and gender identities.