Archive: November 2015


Trans Day of Remembrance

Trans Day of Rememberance - November 20th
Trans Day of Remembrance is observed annually on November 20. This was a day established in 1998 to honour and memorialize people murdered for their gender identity or expression, as a result of transphobia. It is also a day of action and awareness about the acts of violence directed towards the trans community. The Centre for Human Rights reminds everyone that gender identity and expression are covered under the Ontario Human Rights Code. All individuals deserve dignity and respect on the basis of their sex, gender, gender identity and gender expression. Look out for events and campaigns being organized by different campus groups November 10-14 and on Nov 20, 2015.

Living at the Intersections:

Trans-violence and Racism

Violence against trans* peoples, particularly transwomen of colour is a serious problem. The intersectionality of gender identity and race creates a unique experience for transwomen of colour particularly as it relates to their experiences with physical violence, unemployment and treatment by authorities and court systems. Across North America, statistics show that transwomen of colour are disproportionately targeted in hate crimes. The Ontario Human Rights Code identifies both gender identity and race as protected grounds. The Commission recognizes the vulnerabilities of trans people when their identities intersect with other code grounds such as race, family status and disability. These vulnerabilities tend to play out in various forms of discrimination. Below is an example of discrimination from the Ontario Human Rights Commission:

A female tenant identifies as a “Black person,” as “trans” and as a “young” person. She experiences racial comments and threats of eviction from her superintendent whenever she asks to have maintenance work done. The property management company investigates. Other long-time Black tenants report no problems with the superintendent. The investigator concludes the young Black trans woman experienced discrimination because of her combined gender identity, race and relatively young age.

York University is committed to upholding and protecting the rights, freedoms and dignities of all its community members. The Centre for Human Rights call on every member of the York community to help advance respect, equity, diversity and inclusion as this is a shared responsibility on our campuses.


Trans Resources on Campus

Links to trans-friendly resources and policies, including the new brochure on gender expression and gender identity can be found here:

Positive Space

A reminder to the York community that Positive Space training is available for you to learn more about homophobia and transphobia, and how to support trans and queer communities at York. Any unit, department, faculty or student group can request a positive space training. The next open session, available to all York community members, will be on March 10, 2016. This session is part of the York REDI certificate.
Completion of Positive Space training comes with a positive space sticker to make visual support and commitment to safer spaces for queer and trans students, staff and faculty. Training is the only way to get a sticker, so sign up today!


Safety Day

CHR participated in the annual York Safety Day, held on October 21st. Our DPET team conducted the tabling and engaged with a number of community members, many of whom were students. We had two activities at the table. One was a game that asked participants to name three conditions for consent (to sexual activity). If they could, they were given one of our newly launched “I Get Consent” buttons. The other activity asked “How do we make York safer together?” and encouraged people to contribute a suggestion. Many responses focused on changes to the built environment, including more lighting; increased go safe service; safer waiting areas for transit; not holding exams at night; and more security patrols in secluded areas. There was also an overwhelming focus on education. Suggestions included having a required course on safety, respect and consent; more education on gender neutral language, discrimination and harassment; and the dissemination of safety resources in their classes. It was also suggested that there should be more communication between the administration and students about how to make York safer; tabling and activities served this purpose by expanding the dialogue.

Race Inclusion and Supportive Environments (RISE) Working Group
Call for Committee Members

The Centre for Human Rights is embarking on a journey to bring open and honest conversations about race and racism on York’s campuses. As part of this initiative the CHR is in the process of creating a Pan-university working group focused on providing consult to the Centre for Human Rights and institutional advocacy on race-based initiatives.

The RISE working group aims to foster an inclusive environment with the purpose of working towards the elimination of racism at York University. Recognizing the intersection of race with other personal identities which fall under the protected grounds of the Ontario Human Rights Code including age, ancestry, citizenship, creed (religion), colour, disability, ethnic origin, family status, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, sex (including pregnancy) place of origin, record of offences, receipt of public assistance and sexual orientation, the working group aims to create mechanisms for support and proactive institutional practices to remove barriers and increase access and agency for York’s racialized members.

The RISE working group will serve as an institutional advocate to advance respect, equity, diversity and inclusion with a specific focus on systemic and individual experiences of racism.

Committee members will provide proactive consultations on:

  • Policy review and revision
  • Program development
  • Resources development
  • Community engagement initiatives

If you are interested in volunteering your time to the RISE working Group, please complete the following application.

Please note that as we attempt to ensure representation from a wide cross section of the York community some applicants may not be selected where there is strong representation from a particular department/faculty.

The CHR looks forward to building more inclusive environments with you.

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