A statement by Heather Boon, Acting Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture:
The WHO’s decision more than 30 years ago strengthened efforts to destigmatize 2SLGBTQ+ communities and increase access to healthcare and social supports for 2SLGBTQ+ individuals around the world. In the decades since, progress has been made to protect the rights of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals in Canada and abroad, to promote education and awareness, and to build allyship. Yet this work is far from over. Over 60 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships. And from 2020 to 2021, Canada experienced a 64% rise in hate crimes targeting sexual orientation—a statistic that captures only those incidents reported to police.
The University of Toronto condemns all manifestations of homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia on our campuses and in our larger society. We reinforce this position and these values through ongoing work to ensure our policies, practices, and activities support and affirm 2SLGBTQ+ members of our community. In the 2022-23 year, this includes introducing health coverage for gender affirming care for a large number of employees. We will continue to make positive changes on our campuses in consultation with 2SLGBTQ+ students, faculty, librarians, and staff.
This year’s theme for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia is “Together always: united in diversity.” In this spirit, I invite all students, staff, faculty, and librarians to embrace the celebration and advocacy around 2SLGBTQ+ rights this day inspires while recognizing how much diversity shapes and benefits who we are as a university. The richness of our learning and working environments depends on it. We innovate because of it. And we succeed when everyone in our community can contribute in ways that feel true to themselves and that draw upon the full breadth and depth of their talent.