Celebrating Sexual and Gender Diversity at Queen's since 1999.
The Positive Space program offers visibility and support to 2SLGBTQI+ communities. Positive Space stickers posted at the entrance to work, living, or study areas, and on personal belongings such as backpacks or laptops, encourage the Queen's community to celebrate the gender and sexual diversity that exists on campus and to work to overcome subtle and overt forms of discrimination and harassment.
Participants help to create positive spaces at Queen's by avoiding making assumptions about anyone's sexual orientation or gender identity and by signaling that all are welcome. When asked, participants offer information and support (not counselling). Participants are familiar with queer issues, local resources, and discrimination policies.
Though Positive Space focuses on sexual and gender diversity, it strives to account for many different intersecting forms of discrimination, and supports anti-oppression work in its many manifestations at Queen's.
The purpose of the Positive Space Program is to identify and encourage the development of positive spaces within the Queen's Community, and to empower members of the Queen’s Community to be agents of positive change.
The program exists to help facilitate the celebration of sexual and gender diversity at Queen’s in all its manifestations, such that all members of the Queen’s community are affirmed and supported.
All spaces at Queen’s should be safe for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
While gender and sexual diversity are the focus, the program recognizes that all discussions and education programs must be viewed with an intersectional lens. Racism, ageism, ableism, and classism can serve to exacerbate the effects of discrimination faced by those who self-identify with the 2SLGBTQI+ community and thus must be integrated within the discourse of sexual and gender diversity education.
All people have the right, and the full agency to decide whether or not to exercise the right, to visibility, acknowledgment of their sexual and gender identity, and access to resources.
Queen’s community members have a responsibility to challenge discrimination and contribute to a welcoming, inclusive, and accessible environment.
To facilitate a culture of understanding and celebration of 2SLGBTQI+ folks, issues, and communities;
To offer support and resources to individuals concerning 2SLGBTQI+ issues;
To strengthen the 2SLGBTQI+ and ally communities on campus and in Kingston;
To be a leader on campus, through advocacy, policy work, and awareness campaigns, in the amplification of equity-deserving voices in areas pertaining to sexual and gender diversity.
Participants are volunteers who have attended a Positive Space Part 1 and Positive Space Part 2. As a participant with Positive Space, you are expected:
To consider displaying a Positive Space sticker in a place that clearly identifies the space or area designated as “Positive," and to remove the sticker when moving out of the space;
To ensure that all individuals in control of any space where you have placed a sticker (i.e. those who hold office hours in a shared/common office space) has voluntarily agreed to the demarcation of the space as a Positive Space;
To respond with sensitivity to all requests for support, to provide information if able and only if it is known that the information being provided is accurate, and in cases where information is not known to you, to refer individuals in need of support to the Positive Space Website for resources or to other resources on campus;
To consider conducting ongoing research and staying up to date on 2SLGBTQI+ related matters in order to increase your ability to support others who are feeling underrepresented;
To protect the privacy of any individuals who seek out support, during and after one’s time as a Positive Space participant;
To facilitate inclusive spaces and to challenge discrimination that may occur within your Positive Space to the best of your ability;
To maintain a connection to formal communications produced by the Positive Space Program and its Steering Committee, and to consider attending any campus or community events that supports the mission to celebrate sexual and gender diversity.
Training and Resources
Positive Space stickers in work, living, or study areas signal that all are welcome. To become a participant and post a sticker, you need to complete a self-paced course and attend an in-person or virtual session. You can arrange to have an in-person or virtual session presented especially for your group by completing the Training Request Form.
Frequently Asked Questions
In spite of the inclusive steps undertaken by many at Queen's, pockets of fear and hostility towards sexual and gender diversity continue to compromise the well-being of some members of our community. People are sometimes subjected to insults and harassment based on their actual or assumed sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity, and the histories and perspectives of those who identify in the queer community are not always reflected in texts and curricula.
As a result, some people may feel they must hide their sexual orientation or gender variance. For many students, staff, and faculty, university life provides an important opportunity to "come out." This can be a difficult and confusing time, especially if they do not have anyone to whom they can talk or do not know the groups and resources that are available. Even among those who are "out," feelings of isolation or invisibility may occur.
The Positive Space Program makes it clear that there are people and services at Queen's with whom individuals can feel confident that they will be respected and celebrated.
All members of the Queen's community who appreciate sexual and gender diversity and wish to provide additional support for 2SLGBTQI+ people are encouraged to become involved, regardless of their own sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Participants include staff, faculty, and students.
Participation involves a two-step process:
- Complete the self-paced Positive Space Part 1 module and;
- Attend and complete the in-person or virtual Positive Space Part 2 session.
For larger groups, departments, and services that want to brand themselves as a Positive Space, we have a larger sticker and we ask that insofar as practicable, all of those working out of the group's space attend the information session. This means that over time, new people are also encouraged to attend. We also ask that the members of such a group have an anonymous vote about whether to participate and if even one person votes "no," not put up the sticker. The program is purely voluntary.
Visit the Human Rights and Equity Office education page https://www.queensu.ca/hreo/education to sign up for Positive Space Part 1 and Part 2. If you have are a group of 10 or more people, use our Training Request form and we may be able to arrange an information session specifically for your group.
It is true that every place on campus should be queer-positive and that we all have a responsibility to be welcoming and inclusive of all people. However, the reality is that 2SLGBTQI+ people are sometimes subjected to insults, harassment, and physical assaults, and continue to be excluded from texts, curricula, and scholarship.
As a result, some do not feel comfortable self-identifying at Queen's. It is hoped that Positive Space Program stickers will offer them places where they can feel confident that sexual and gender diversity is respected and even celebrated.
The presence of the stickers also raises awareness of the range of differences that exists on campus and sensitizes others to subtle and overt forms of discrimination. Positive Space hopes to aid Queen's in becoming an increasingly queer-positive campus.
No. The presence of a Positive Space sticker identifies a particular space as being queer-positive, but it does not mean that other spaces are not.
Not all queer-positive people will choose to participate in this program. Some may wish to show their support by displaying posters, flying rainbow flags, or posting other welcoming signs. Others may choose not to identify themselves as queer or as queer allies, for a variety of reasons, and the absence of a Positive Space sticker should not be assumed to reflect discriminatory attitudes about gender and sexual diversity.
Although this particular program focuses on sexual and gender diversity, it recognizes the intersectionality of oppressions and supports anti-oppression work in all its many manifestations at Queen's.
There can be no guarantees that all participants in the program will be completely queer-positive.
We require participants to attend Positive Space Part 1 and Part 2 sessions and encourage attendance at ongoing educational meetings to update knowledge and resources and engage in best practices discussions.
The use and effectiveness of the program is monitored and feedback from program participants, as well as the larger Queen's community, is invited.
The logo consists of an inverted Rainbow Triangle against the Queen's "Q." The six-coloured rainbow is taken from the Rainbow Flag, a common symbol of queer pride and support. The triangle is a reminder of the pink and black triangles that were used to mark gay men and lesbians in Nazi concentration camps during WorId War II.
Our design was modelled on York University's positive space logo.
The impact of the program is monitored by program participants and the Positive Space Committee. Participants are asked to provide the committee with feedback on requests for information and comments generated by the presence of the stickers.