Fanshawe College hosted an event today in Forwell Hall to support and bring awareness to those in the LGBTQ+ community. The college had a positive space, not only those in the LGBTQ+ community, but for anyone who wanted to celebrate sexual and gender diversity. Many groups were at the event in hopes of being able to provide information, assistance, or even just a set of ears to listen, including PFLAG, counselling services, and even Fanshawe’s library with books on the LGBTQ+ community.
PFLAG is a non-profit organization who aims at helping families and with individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Elliot Duvall, with PFLAG, emphasized the importance of Fanshawe holding this event.
“It’s really important because there’s a lot of young adults who are coming out, and maybe are terrified to come out.” Duvall says. “We facilitate and lot of parents and children interaction. So that if there’s a child who wants to come out to their parents and say ‘I’m gay, I’m lesbian, I’m bi’ or any of those terms, we’ll bring that parent in and it gives them someplace safe.”
But it’s not just those organizations who come in to get the word out about community and acceptance, it’s also the students right here at Fanshawe. The college has a program called Spectrum Fanshawe, which is a social and support group for LGBTQ2+ individuals at the school. Their aim is to create a safe and positive space, specifically within the college, for LGBTQ2+ students to meet and interact with their peers.
For the college, taking steps and initiatives like this to hold an event for those in the LGBTQ+ community is a step from where Fanshawe first started. Candice Lawrence, a counselor at Fanshawe, often helps those who may be afraid to come out, or for those who already did. Things were a lot different back in 1986 when Lawrence started.