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Statement of Validation for and Celebration of 2STLGBQIA+* Communities

In response to the publicly circulating comments expressed by a local and campus community member at a Toronto Catholic District School Board meeting, our University has clearly stated that “There is no place for homophobia or transphobia at McMaster,” and that these views “do not align with the university’s values and the inclusive environment we are committed to providing for our students, faculty, staff and community both inside and outside of the classroom.”

President’s Advisory Committee on Building an Inclusive Community (PACBIC) is guided by McMaster’s Statement on Building an Inclusive Community with a Shared Purpose, which expressly describes an inclusive community as one where all members feel empowered and valued and where the dignity, safety and wellbeing of members is highly regarded.

 The PACBIC Gender and Sexualities (G&S) and Interfaith Working Groups recognize that McMaster communities are not separate or independent from the broader community; rather, our experiences and identities are inextricably linked to the communities we are a part of within and outside of the university. With this in mind, these profoundly harmful and dehumanizing views and comments maintain tangible implications for and impacts on 2STLGBQIA+ students, staff, and faculty. These potential implications include impacts on the overall health and well-being of individuals and communities through emerging and ongoing concerns related to safety, inclusion, and the ability to participate actively in the university’s academic and extracurricular activities. 

 We also recognize that these harmful comments have particular implications for 2STLGBQIA+ community members who identify with and/or practice Catholicism. Homophobia and transphobia have historically been perpetuated through the distortion and deployment of religious texts, thus alienating, marginalizing, and harming 2STLGBQIA+ members of various religious communities. Despite these dehumanizing comments, we want to emphasize that 2STLGBQIA+ folks’ relationships with spirituality and religion are significant, they matter, and they should be celebrated and supported.

 The PACBIC G&S and Interfaith Working Groups stand with 2STLGBQIA+ community members, many of whom may be profoundly impacted by these violent comments. We also encourage folks to connect with available resources on campus and in the broader community for additional supports: 

McMaster’s Sexual Violence Policy and Discrimination and Harassment Policy expressly prohibit harassment, discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender presentation. Any community members requiring support for an experience of any form of discrimination, harassment, or gender-based violence may contact the Equity and Inclusion Office at equity@mcmaster.ca.

*2STLGBQIA+ refers to those who identify as Two-Spirit, trans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, intersex, asexual and the other diverse identities that make up our community