The Positive Space Award

In March 2009, the Positive Space Program celebrated its tenth anniversary at Queen’s by launching an annual award, given to “a full-time Queens University undergraduate or graduate student who has demonstrated leadership in the Queen's and/or Kingston community in promoting the recognition and celebration of sexual and gender diversity.” The Positive Space Award carries a $500 honorarium, as well as a public acknowledgement of achievement during Queen’s Pride Week.

An award committee made up of faculty and staff at Queen’s makes the decision about who will receive the award. Because there are many people who deserve recognition, the announcement of the winner is made at a special event where the citations for all of the nominees are shared.


Dan Vena (2013)

An MA student in Gender Studies, Dan uses his training in the dramatic arts and his passion for social justice to raise awareness of transgender issues. Along with numerous lectures, he performed a monologue in the campus production Down There that challenged transphobic cultural attitudes. In collaboration with Queen’s Drama Association, he co-founded Kingston’s only queer theatre collective and wrote and staged a play to critical acclaim. Dan is also the co-founder of "Men who Like Feminism," a group promoting diverse understandings of masculinity, and he led several workshops at Ontario universities geared towards empowering male students to combat misogynistic cultural attitudes.

Nominees 2013: Laura Hughes, Jessica Sinclair, Dan Vena, Dana Wesley

Beckham Ronaghan (2012)

A Gender Studies major, Beckham worked with his Department’s Curriculum Review Committee to address a need for more trans scholarship  and was a member of the Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuIP) all four years at Queen’s. In 2012, he served as one of the directors of a revised and expanded version of The Vagina Monologues, called Down There, exploring issues of sexuality, gender identity, and sexual violence. For several years a facilitator for the Positive Space Program’s Information Sessions as well as a residence don, Beckham recognized a need to provide facilitated discussion on gender and sexuality within the residences at Queen’s and developed and trained facilitators for the THINQ discussion workshops. A contributor to Outwrite: A Queer Review, Beck also spends a week each summer as a camp counsellor at Ten Oaks, outside of Ottawa, a camp for LGBTQ children.

Nominees 2012:  Jaclyn Greenberg, Dhivia Joseph, Mason Lam, Geneviève Rochon-Terry, Beckham Ronaghan, Caleb Seguin, Jessica Sinclair

Kym Nacita (2011)

A graduate student in the MA program in Geography,  Kym co-founded CFRC’s Bash Back radio program and served as co-host. She also co-founded QuIPOC (Queer Indigenous and People of Colour), served as the Equity Coordinator for QCSA (Queer Graduate Students Association), and as a member of the Levana Gender Advocacy Centre. Also a leader in QCRED (Queen’s Coalition for Racial and Ethnic Diversity), EQuIP (Education on Queer Issues Project), and OPIRG (Ontario Public Interest Research Group), Kym was noted for “actively challenging existing institutions in positive ways and creating her own spaces, media, and communities, while encouraging others to do the same.”

Nominees 2011:  Fraser MacPherson, Kym Nacita, TK Pritchard

Anna Fischer and Christina Clare (2010)

An undergraduate Gender Studies major, Anna Fischer chaired OutWrite, A Queer Review; EQuIP (Education on Queer Issues Project); and QPP (Queen’s Pride Week), which she co-created with Christina Clare. EQuIP, Committee on Gender, Positive Space, Gender Bender, Reelout, and OutWrite are just a few of the groups in which geography undergraduate Christina has participated. The two have also performed together musically at various queer events.

“The combined work on this campus of Christina Clare and Anna Fischer demonstrates true leadership in every sense of the word. It is our belief that these two students should be equally recognized for their leadership and outstanding involvement in promoting and celebrating sexual and gender diversity on the Queen's campus--and beyond.” 

Nominess 2010:  Christina Clare, Caitlyn Clark, Anna Fischer, Ben Leviton, Marney McDiarmid, Allison Maier

Molle Dorst (2009)

Molle Dorst was a Women’s Studies (now Gender Studies) undergraduate who served as co-chair of OutWrite, the queer literary anthology at Queen’s. A Positive Space participant, Molle was also active with the Sexual Health Resource Centre and the Education on Queer Issues Project. She produced The Vagina Monologues, and she was chair of the Women’s Empowerment Committee. Along with her work in Women’s Studies, she took additional courses through University of Toronto on queer issues and trans identities, and when at home in Toronto she worked with local high schools to educate teens on Queer identities. Molle’s volunteerism was described as “a celebration of identity through artistic expression.”

Nominees 2009:  Karen Blair, Christina Clare, Shannon Coyle, Emma Daughton, Molle Dorst, Kat Heinzman, Jason Shearer