Concordia Student Union
Concordia Student Union
CW: This post mentions Transphobia, Homophobia, and violence against LGBTQIA2+ folks
Dear LGBTQIA2+ students,
As we marched among our Montreal community for Pride this past weekend and celebrated queer joy, we want to take the time to acknowledge and once again reaffirm the importance of fighting for the LGBTQIA2+ community. At the CSU, it is our mandate to always do our best to support and uplift marginalized communities. But we need to acknowledge that, too often, we have let you down. We have allowed for a hostile and unsafe environment to be created and have not done enough for the LGBTQIA2+ students that needed our support. Particularly in regards to transphobia, we have allowed harm to be inflicted upon trans and non-binary students.
During our own meetings, and particularly over the past year online, we have not intervened enough when slurs, stereotypes and inappropriate laughter were too often heard, not just when discussing topics of gender identity and sexual orientation. Moreover, certain non-verbal actions, like eye rolls when people are speaking about their struggles, have been enabled and made possible by our own systems in place. We have let things slide, used the excuse of ignorance and people simply needing to be better educated, and not held ourselves accountable when LGBTQIA2+ students have had to resign due to a space that perpetrated harm. While the individuals involved in the CSU change on a yearly basis, what remains is a structure that protects perpetrators of discrimination, allowing them to remain unaccountable to the traumas inflicted upon LGBTQIA2+ community members who involved themselves to speak up for their communities.
This letter is meant to be one of the first step to change that. We are aware that apologies are not enough. Simply acknowledging a mistake is not enough. We cannot expect you to see that as enough and immediately feel safer about entering CSU spaces. No, we need to take actions toward regaining trust.
For that reason, we are committing to the following action items to be completed by May 2022:
We commit to continuously acknowledging the struggles faced by the LGBTQIA2+ Community. While we may be celebrating queer joy during Pride, we cannot forget that Pride is a protest, that fighting for LGBTQIA2+ communities is first and foremost a political movement, one that has been and must continue to be led by QTBIPOC. Nor should we allow the rewriting of the radical history that surrounds the first queer liberation protests all those years ago. These were and are protests to fight against the police violence enacted upon the LGBTQIA2+ community and against all the hate and discrimination faced by LGBTQIA2+ folks to this day.
We must do better to hold ourselves accountable and provide better education to our members. With this we hope to put a firm end to the far too common homophobic and transphobic atmosphere cultivated in the CSU and hope to replace it with one of inclusion, where issues relating to the LGBTQIA2+ community are taken seriously instead of being dismissed and where all students can truly feel safe.
We hope that you will accept this apology and join us in our efforts to correct our mistakes, but we also acknowledge that we first have to show our commitment to the LGBTQIA2+ community by acting on our words.
The Concordia Student Union