The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) intersectionally promotes diversity in gender identity, gender expression, and romantic and/or sexual orientation in all its forms on a national level through services in the areas of arts, heritage, history, education, health, and advocacy. Over the last 15 years, the CCGSD has become a leader in professional development in workspaces through the Positive Space Program, which aims to address the discrimination and oppression that queer and trans people face.
But today, addressing heterosexism, cissexism, and transmisogyny is not enough. When a staff member comes out as trans in the workplace, it’s not enough to simply ensure that they’re not facing hate or discrimination — rather, they should be celebrated and honoured for their experiences.
But today, addressing heterosexism, cissexism, and transmisogyny is not enough.
I remember when I got pregnant. Everyone in my office got me cake and presents. Someone even decorated my office with flowers. But when I came out as bisexual or shared my work at the CCGSD, there was an awkward silence. In that silence there were snide remarks, social exclusion from community events, and a lack of representation in workplace traditions.
This is not malicious by any means. Rather, many people are just unfamiliar with queer and trans communities. Even gender and sexually-diverse people are unaware of how diverse our community is. And it’s not their fault. In Canada, you can go from kindergarten to university graduation without learning about queer and trans culture, community, and history.
Today, it’s important that all workplaces go beyond stopping oppression to also ensuring that they’re celebrating the lives and communities around them.
Calla Barnett is the President of the Board of Directors at CCGSD