Twenty years of Positive Space

Twenty years of Positive Space

Queen’s Human Rights and Equity Office celebrates ongoing success of Positive Space Program.

By Dave Rideout

October 31, 2019


For two decades, the Positive Space Program has facilitated the celebration of sexual and gender diversity at Queen's, working with people across campus so that all members of the community are affirmed and supported. The Human Rights and Equity Office marked the program’s 20th anniversary this week with a celebration at Mitchell Hall and the release of a video reflecting on its impact.

“Positive Space represents the very best of what is possible when people – in a spirit of hope, deep appreciation, and love – come together to achieve equity, justice, and freedom,” says Stephanie Simpson, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion). “This program, alongside many others over the years, has contributed to making Queen’s a place where the richness of our differences are celebrated and where individuals and communities can realize their potential.”

Can't see the video? View the video in a new window.

The Positive Space emblem – an inverted rainbow triangle overlaid with a Queen’s “Q” – is a familiar sight across the university, with stickers adorning many classrooms, offices, and common areas, to signal that all forms of diversity are respected and celebrated, and that everyone is welcome. To be welcoming means that no one should make assumptions about another person's gender or sexual orientation; there is awareness of the intersections with other forms of oppression; and that there is effort to overcome both overt and subtle forms of discrimination and harassment.

“The contribution to a more inclusive campus that Positive Space has made over the years comes not only from the colourful stickers that are its hallmark,” says Jean Pfleiderer, Positive Space Coordinator, Human Rights and Equity Office, “but also from the meaningful conversations that arise from its information sessions.”

Queen’s community members earn the stickers once they have voluntarily participated in a Positive Space Information Session, created to build awareness and respect for sexual and gender diversity. There are currently around 3,500 people across campus engaged in the program. All staff, faculty, and students can register for regularly scheduled information sessions.

“As we continue our campus conversation about equity, diversity, Indigeneity, and accessibility, we should look toward Positive Space as a shining example of what it means to be inclusive,” says Simpson. “The program, and those who facilitate it, continue to champion environments in which people can truly live as who they are, and as they do so, help to transform the spaces and the culture of our campus.”

For more information on the program, visit the Positive Space website.