UBC invests $18,801 into 2SLGTBQIA+ equity projects

This past April, UBC invested $18,801 into gender and 2SLGBTQIA+ equity projects through their Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism (StEAR) Enhancement Fund.

First launched in September 2023 as a collaboration between the Equity & Inclusion Office and the VP Students Office, the fund has multiple equity streams including racial, disability, intersectional and gender and 2SLGBTQIA+. This year, UBC invested $294,385 across the four streams.

UBC Okanagan Director of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism Dharshi Lacey wrote in a statement to The Ubyssey that the university hopes “the projects move the dial on enhancing student, faculty and staff experiences at UBC, including a sense of inclusion and belonging and that they lead to broader systemic changes.”

“The StEAR Enhancement Fund is in place to help advance the implementation of UBC’s strategic equity and anti-racism priorities outlined in the StEAR Roadmap for Change,” wrote Lacey.

Lacey also wrote that there were 10 applicants specifically for the gender and 2SLGBTQIA+ diversity stream. Two projects — PrideMind Hub and Queer Collections Project at the UBC Library — were approved for the Vancouver campus, while Heat Pride Night was the only project approved for the Okanagan campus.

UBC’s Queer Collections Project, spearheaded by Associate Professor of English Dr. Gregory Mackie and Associate Professor of German and Scandinavian studies Dr. Kyle Frackman, is seeking to acquire Queer archival materials from 1869 to around 1969.

The project strives to make a diverse array of Queer primary sources — like rare historical printed books, ephemera, letters, artwork, diaries and other historical documents — more readily available to students.

"We’re particularly keen to educate students — and not only those who identify as LGBTQ — about the long history of queer life and queer culture," wrote Mackie and Frackman in a joint statement to The Ubyssey.

In 2019, Mackie and Frackman held a public exhibition with the Rare Books and Special Collections division at UBC Library, titled A Queer Century, 1869–1969. Some pieces in the exhibit included a postcard sent between two female lovers from the 19th century and the 1922 book The Female Impersonators, which is considered to be one of the first autobiographies and memoirs from a Trans person.

"We hope to continue expanding the collection, making UBC into a centre for historical research into LGBTQ cultural production," wrote Mackie and Frackman.

Psychology lecturer Dr. David King, one of the organizers behind the PrideMind Hub, wrote in a statement to The Ubyssey that the project’s “goal is to create a more supportive and inclusive community for 2SLGBTQIA+ students, staff, and faculty in the Psychology Department at UBC.”

King started the initiative in 2023 alongside graduate student Kiarah O’Kane and UBC staff member Fides Arguelles to form a “stronger queer community” in the [psychology] department. They plan to develop a website that makes it easier for Queer students in the department to find and access support resources as well as academic opportunities.

“Though its function will evolve over time, the website will initially be aimed at facilitating and supporting the professional development and well-being of 2SLGBTQIA+ undergraduate and graduate students in psychology.”

King hopes this will aid student retention as it will improve accessibility to research opportunities and mental health resources. He also added that in the future, the group hopes to hold more social events, discussion groups and workshops. So far, the group has organized two events “for 2SLGBTQIA+ department members in order to build connections and learn more about the unique experiences and needs of the community.”

“It is critical that 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals come together as a community to ensure that everyone feels safe, respected, and included,” King wrote, “no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

This article was updated at 4:00 p.m. on June 26 to add statements from Dr. Gregory Mackie and Dr. Kyle Frackman.