Provost’s Action Group for Gender and Sexual Diversity


Established at the request of the Provost, the purpose of the Action Group is to initiate and support actions that will improve the climate for participation in the life of the University for all Queen’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community or who are gender non-conforming. PAGGAS serves as a conduit for connecting ideas and proposals to the resources needed to enact them.


Recent acts of hatred and violence on campus have brought into focus the need to examine supports and resources available to marginalized communities on our campus including 2SLGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty. It has also sparked much needed conversation about concrete actions required to ensure welcome and inclusion for sexual and gender diversity at a systemic level.

The Principal’s Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism includes a pledge to “eliminate gaps in support and resources for 2SLGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty.” To this end, the Provost asked the AVP (Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion) and the Associate Director, Human Rights Advisory Services/Sexual and Gender Diversity Advisor, to develop these "Terms of Reference" for the establishment of a University Action Group to improve the climate for sexual and gender diversity at Queen's.


Working in partnership with university leadership and appropriate bodies/resources internal and external to Queen's, the Action Group is mandated to:

  • Listen to the voices of university community members, with particular attention to voices of queer, trans, and BIPOC community members, and identify, coordinate, and report on a broad range of initiatives that will create a more welcoming environment for sexual and gender diversity, in such areas as virtual and physical spaces, training, orientation activities, services for students, curriculum, and extra-curricular programming.

  • Provide feedback to institutional departments/units seeking to develop or launch initiatives that ameliorate the university climate for sexual and gender diversity.

  • Initiate specific initiatives or projects, based on advice and proposals received from various parts of the university community, by coordinating project team leadership, timelines, and funding and administrative support requirements. Initiatives or projects may include but are not limited to:

    • Review of washroom/change room facilities: review and expand existing Gender Neutral Washrooms policy to include questions of signage, multi-stall units, and communications strategies;

    • Gathering data regarding the experiences and needs of queer communities at Queen's:

    • Develop and expand gender and sexual diversity-related supports for new students, staff and faculty at Queen’s, including expansion of “queer orientation;”

    • Review of gaps in support services for sexual and gender diversity (e.g. counselor/advisor/support worker/special project positions in units such as Wellness, HREO, SLL, SEO, Yellow House, Human Resources;

    • Completion and dissemination of support guidelines for transgender and/or nonbinary people on campus (faculty, staff and students), including but not limited to individuals who are transitioning;

    • Policy review including but not limited to name and gender collection and display in university records; review, expand, and enhance Queen’s community awareness of the Guidelines on Collecting Information About Sex and Gender at Queen's University

    • Training review - what is available, what might need to be mandatory and for whom;

    • Social supports - virtual and physical space, events funding need

  • Serve on an ongoing basis to track and communicate progress and as a clearinghouse for bringing forward additional initiatives as they are identified by the university community.

The Action Group is chaired by Teri Shearer, the Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) and Jean Pfleiderer, the Associate Director, Human Rights Advisory Services/Gender and Sexual Diversity Coordinator, and includes students, faculty, and staff whose work is closely concerned with gender and sexual diversity issues on campus. Membership is expected to turn over as project focus changes, with the intention being to maintain a small number (roughly ten) of members and a larger circle of contributors.

In its first year, action group members included:

  • Prof Lee Airton, Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies, Education
  • Matt D’Alessandro, (former) Vice President, ASUS
  • Kandice Baptiste, Director, Four Directions Indigenous Centre
  • Dre Choi, Human Rights Advisor, Human Rights and Equity Office
  • Markus Harwood-Jones, PhD student, Gender Studies
  • Sam Hiemstra, (former) Rector
  • Samara Lijiam, Social Issues Commissioner, AMS
  • Kel Martin, Sexual and Gender Diversity Advisor, Yellow House
  • Kayla Melbourne, (former) Marketing Officer, ASUS
  • Prof Elaine Power, (former) Head, Gender Studies
  • Stephanie Simpson, Associate Vice Principal, (Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion)

Projects and Proposals

Gender and Sexual Diversity Resources at Queen’s and in Kingston

 Inclusive Queen’s

 Positive Space

 Queen’s University Association of Queer Employees (Employee Resource Group)

Contact Info

Do you have an idea you'd like to share with PAGGAS about improving the climate for gender and sexual diversity at Queen's?  Contact the Co-Chair Dre Choi: