Voices from our 2SLGBTQ+ community: Jason Harley

Voices from our 2SLGBTQ+ community: Jason Harley

Professor Jason Harley

May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. The day was created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and all other people with different sexual orientations, identities or expressions of gender and characteristics. sexual.

It also gives people a chance to reflect on the importance of building more inclusive communities, including here at McGill.

“Having a more diverse and inclusive campus community means there is the potential for everyone to thrive at McGill,” says Andrea Clegg, 2SLGBTQ + Equity Education, Gender Equity and Education Advisor. “Having more diverse experiences actively represented on our campuses enhances and enriches the basic activities of research, teaching and service to the general society of the University.”

“We need to keep working to build a campus environment where all students, staff and faculty, including members of the 2SLGBTQ + communities, can reach their full potential. I don’t think work in this area will ever end, and we must also remain vigilant to ensure that progress on the 2SLGBTQ + issues that have been made so far remains in place, “says Clegg.

To mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, the reporter has prepared a series of questions and inquiries with staff and teachers from McGill’s 2SLGBTQ + community. We asked them about everything from their personal experiences as students, and then staff and faculty, who identify as 2SLGBTQ +, to the efforts McGill is making to support 2SLGBTQ + people, to how instructors they can make their classrooms more inclusive.

“Building an inclusive campus community means marking internationally recognized days of importance that honor the experiences of various social groups that have faced adversity in higher education contexts. These commemorative efforts should focus on the voices and experiences of McGillians who are members of these communities, “said Angela Campbell, Associate Rector (Equity and Academic Policy).

“For this reason, I am very pleased that colleagues who are members of our 2SLGBTQ + community at McGill have agreed to share their perspectives as we celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia 2022. Their views show that, while McGill is making progress on the advancement of EDI, we still have a lot of important work to do. “

Jason M. Harley

Jason M. Harley, PhD, is an adjunct professor in the Department of Surgery, McGill School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and a scientist at the McGill University Health Center Research Institute (RI-MUHC). ). They are also the research director of the Steinberg Center for Interactive Simulation and Learning, director of the Laboratory for Simulation, Affection, Innovation, Learning and Surgery (SAILS) and an associate member of the Institute of Health Sciences Education (IHSE).

They were really “made in McGill.” They completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in educational psychology, and a doctorate in educational psychology funded by FRQSC and SSHRC-CGS at McGill University, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship funded by FRQSC in computer science at the University. of Montreal. Prior to returning to McGill, they were Assistant Professors of Educational Technology and Psychology at the University of Alberta.

The overall goal of the Harley research program is to support current and future well-being and the clinical performance of health students through innovative educational interventions, leveraging interactive simulations and emerging technologies. His research has attracted more than $ 1 million in funding (as a PI) from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Killam Foundation, Mitacs, the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative on Infection and Immunity, and more. His research has led to dozens of interviews broadcast and printed in places such as The Guardian, CBC News, The Globe and Mail, Global News, CTV News and the Montreal Gazette. One of his most successful research projects to date was the development and evaluation of an SSHRC-funded queer history application that was presented to all major Canadian media and endorsed by federal, provincial and elected municipal. They have also been invited to consult on queer issues for Stats Canada and a case in the provincial Supreme Court.

What are some of the ways the McGill community promotes EDI, especially in relation to 2SLGBTQ + inclusion?

McGill offers services for queer undergraduate and graduate students (e.g., Queer McGill, Queer McGill Grad Club), a Queer People Subcommittee (part of the Joint Board-Senate Equity Committee), as well as events around the Month of the Queer Story. McGill also includes sexual orientation and gender identity as recognized minority groups in recruitment and reporting.

What else needs to be done?

As an invisible minority group, people with sexual orientation and gender identity need to be better integrated into representations and debates about equity, diversity, and inclusion. Too often, EDI discussions and representations completely exclude any mention or illustration of sexual orientation and people from gender minorities. This is a problem because queer people are both a statistical minority and a vulnerable minority, which is clear from research. We are also a group whose existing rights are so recent that one could say “the ink is still drying” in the pages of history.

Thinking about when you were a student, how much progress, if any, has there been in making classrooms more inclusive for 2SLGBTQ + students?

McGill is a progressive university in a progressive city and country: it is a wonderful place for queer people to learn and work. As a queer rural boy attending a Catholic high school, starting my degree at McGill in 2004 seemed like a transition from a grayscale to a vibrantly colored world. That said, I haven’t noticed any marked change since I started my undergraduate degree. Initiatives like this make me hope that this will change soon.

How can teachers make their classrooms more inclusive of the diverse experiences of our students?

A. Introduce yourself, even on the first day, using your pronouns and put them in the footer of your email. This can help students with gender identity minorities, teaching assistants, and young colleagues feel more comfortable using their favorite pronouns. “Hi, I’m Professor Jason Harley and my pronouns are them.” Easy, right?

B. If you find yourself teaching about people, whether it’s teaching them, curing them, or otherwise helping them, include non-symbolic examples of people with a minority of sexual orientation and gender identity. What do I mean by non-tokenization? Talking exclusively about gay people in the context of STDs or queer people in the context of suicide. Queer people are more than death, disease and invisibility. The examples can be very helpful in illustrating this.

Do we need to make room to discuss sexual or gender identity in the workplace and / or in the classroom? Why is this important?

We do this, especially in courses where students are prepared to help or better understand people. For example, how can we prepare health care workers to provide the best possible level of care when they do not understand the unique stressors that queer people face? How can we expect teachers to be prepared to foster inclusive classrooms if they have not cultivated the reflexes to open up to the diverse identities and gender expressions of students and avoid assuming that all of their students have a mother and a father?

Some see diversity as a threat to power. What are the benefits, and perhaps the potential risks, of fostering and celebrating a more diverse community, in McGill and in the world at large?

By celebrating and building diversity at McGill we can create an environment that helps show how great diversity is not about retracting power. When everyone is treated fairly and opportunities are offered, not only can the best ones reach the top, but new, different, and bold ideas can take organizations to new heights. In a world facing many challenges, innovation and new ways of thinking are more necessary than ever.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Research can transform the world. It has helped people understand the disparities faced by women and racialized people, for example, and is helping to catalyze and drive change. Researchers, especially quantitative researchers, collect data on people of sexual orientation and gender identity, whenever possible, to help better understand the strengths and needs of queer people.

We must also avoid the temptation to make an effort to share only our findings and knowledge with our own communities. In an increasingly polarizing social landscape, we cannot assume that our future public will “do its homework” (spoiler: they will not even appear in the metaphorical class). We need to talk to a wide audience to catalyze change, and that often means avoiding assumptions about what our audience knows and even what matters to them. Leave the “should” behind. Start simple, don’t speak ill of your audience, and cultivate empathy and understanding of a problem and possible positive steps instead of indignation.

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