Dear NSCAD community,
NSCAD welcomes and embraces May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), as a celebration of diversity and inclusion throughout our community and around the world.
May 17 commemorates the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. IDAHOTB annually brings a global focus on the rights of people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.
Celebrating IDAHOTB also raises awareness of the violence and discrimination they experience – discrimination that has been amplified by the pandemic’s disproportional consequences for the LGBTQ2S+ community as societal oppression causes more queer and trans people to work in precarious jobs and have less access to primary care physicians.
While Canada is often recognized as being progressive when it comes to LGBTQ2S+ rights, it doesn’t mean we are completely free from discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia. This reality extends to our own community whose LGBTQ2S+ individuals do not always perceive NSCAD as a safe and welcoming space.
As NSCAD develops its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Institutional Plan, we must authentically demonstrate our commitment to social justice if we are to create a campus environment where every member is a valued contributor.
This begins with everyone at NSCAD embracing the diversity among us and acknowledging that some individuals experience systemic barriers to full participation in our community. We can then work together to rebuild policies, programs and practices that are inclusive, equitable and accessible to all.
As an essential part of this effort, we must all recognize and speak out against the discrimination LGBTQ2S+ people our community face and stand with them.
Through the theme for IDAHOTB 2021 – Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing! – let’s make sure every space on our campus is inclusive and supports LGBTQ2S+ belonging and success.
For more information on IDAHOTB 2021, please visit https://may17.org.
Sarah McKinnon, PhD, Interim President