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Thursday, June 23 • 15:00 - 16:00
CON08.07c - Broadening Understanding: Students' perspectives on respecting all sexual orientations and gender identities in university classrooms

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Awareness of LGBTQ+ issues is improving, but ensuring that university classrooms are free from marginalization remains a significant challenge. In November 2014, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance conducted a 25-question online survey of students who do not conform to heterosexual and cisgender paradigms—this included those who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, or Questioning—within its membership with the goal of identifying the most persistent issues these students face and their preferred solutions. Among 311 valid responses, most respondents expressed that they felt welcome and comfortable in their campus life, however a sizable minority still indicated that they did not; roughly 20 percent of respondents felt excluded and uncomfortable. The findings suggested that campus communities can be especially unwelcoming and exclusionary for students whose gender identity does not correspond with their birth-assigned sex (non-cisgender students). In particular correlations between non-cisgender identity and negative interactions with faculty suggest a need to incorporate diverse perspectives about gender and sexual orientation into university classrooms. Session participants will be briefed on the survey’s findings, and the results of open-text, qualitative analysis that explores: the role of faculty members in creating welcoming and inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ students; the importance of student-faculty relationships in determining students’ overall feelings of inclusion; the impacts of heteronormativity and cisnormativity on students’ academic experience; and strategies for incorporating diverse perspectives about sexual orientation and gender into the classroom. Ultimately, this research presentation will communicate the LGBTQ+ community’s concerns and recommendations to those most immediately capable of improving their classroom experience: university teachers and administrators.

avatar for Lindsay D'Souza

Lindsay D'Souza

Research Intern, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
Lindsay is currently completing an undergraduate degree in Honours English and History with a minor in Commerce from McMaster University. Her extra-curricular involvement and experiences working in large teams in mentorship and leadership capacities is what drives her determination... Read More →
avatar for Danielle Pierre

Danielle Pierre

Research & Policy Analyst, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
Danielle has been working with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance since October 2014. As Research & Policy Analyst, Danielle has authored policy papers about student health and wellness, the needs of mature students, and reforms to the tuition framework and student financial... Read More →

Thursday June 23, 2016 15:00 - 16:00 EDT
UCC 60