Question: I am a student currently studying in Scotland and I have just been accepted to the University of Guelph exchange program, which means I’ll be studying and living in Guelph for the second year of my degree. I’m just wondering as a gay student if there’s a lot on offer for LGBT students of the uni in terms of societies/getting involved etc. I’m also curious as an international student about the level of acceptance of homosexuality in Guelph and Canada as a whole and what kind of reactions/attitudes to expect from other Guelph students. Any info would be appreciated, thanks!
The earlier post “As a lesbian student, would Guelph be an accepting school overall?” has a number of different thoughts on the acceptance level at the University of Guelph as well as within the community. It also contains the names of all the LGBT-mandated groups on campus, many of which will take volunteers or have social activities anyone can get involved with. That being said, many of the non queer-mandated clubs and organizations on campus, have policies on inclusion and many LGBT-identified students find it comfortable being “out” and members of these groups.
As for the general attitudes in Canada, that’s a bit of a tougher question to answer. Canada has had a number of positive things for the LGBT community including the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2003 (making it one of the first four in the world) and protections from discrimintation that are entrenched in the Charter of Human Rights. In general, the visibility of LGBT-identified individuals is increasing, and we are seeing more and more public respresentation in all forms of media, although it is slow.
That being said, like everywhere, there are still challenges and it really depends on where one is in Canada. Some communities (like Guelph) have had a significant history of supporting the rights and voices of LGBT-identified individuals, while others are only for the first time realizing LGBT-identified people are part of their community. When one looks at the big picture, world-wide, focusing on specific rights, Canada is definitely near the top in terms of legal recognition and protection, although full equality is still a work in progress.