Positive Space Ally program aims to educate Fanshawe faculty about LGBTQ+ community

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: PROVIDED BY CANDICE LAWRENCE
Positive Space Ally Program educates Fanshawe faculty on how to act as an ally for students in the LGBT+ and Two-Spirited communities.

A program at Fanshawe is working to create a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community. The Positive Space Ally program aims to educate Fanshawe faculty on how to act as an ally and create a welcoming atmosphere for LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirited students.

The program was started by Candice Lawrence who has been working as a personal and accessibility counsellor with the Counselling and Accessibility Services at Fanshawe since 1986.

The idea for a program like this has been growing since the early years of her career at Fanshawe.

When she started, there were no social clubs or meeting places for members of this community. Many of the students that approached her for counselling feared starting a group because it was not a safe thing to do at that time.

“I wanted to create a training program that would educate the college community about LGBTQ+ issues, how to be a good ally, and help break down myths and stereotypes,” Lawrence said.

Since the early 2000s, Lawrence has found LGBTQ+ students a meeting place and works with eight other faculty members and representatives from Spectrum Fanshawe. The group provides education to interested groups about LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirited issues through seminars and workshops.

The allies use this information to help support students, act as a referral source for those seeking community resources, and create a positive learning environment.

“We believe that having offered educational workshops to residence advisors, faculty and staff around the college, that we are helping to increase awareness of issues facing LGBT+ and Two-Spirited people,” Lawrence said.

Through regularly updating their list of local LGBTQ+ resources and actively supporting a variety of local events and groups in the city, the Positive Space Ally program has been able to reach hundreds of people at Fanshawe.

One event that this program is involved with is the upcoming Pride London Festival Art Show. This is the 26th year of the event and it is a way for members of the LGBTQ+ community to share visual forms of political, social, spiritual, emotional, and aesthetic concerns and aspirations. The deadline to submit visual art is May 31st and the exhibition is open from July 19 to 29.

The Positive Space Ally program is always looking for people to join their team to celebrate sexual and gender diversity. What started off with Lawrence recognizing a need for LGBTQ+ education within the college has developed into more involvement and acceptance each year.

“We encourage others to become allies themselves and to take this to their classrooms, workplaces, and peer and colleague groups,” Lawrence said.

To get involved with the group or find out more information, visit fanshawec.ca/positivespace or email positivespace@fanshawec.ca.

To learn more about the Pride London Festival Art Show, visit pridelondon.ca or email artshow@pridelondon.ca.