Sept. 22, 2021 The Division of Human Resources & Equity is now called the Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture.

2023 Angela Hildyard Leadership Symposium 2SLGBTQ+ Inclusion & Belonging in Post-Secondary Education 

2023 Angela Hildyard Symposium

The 2023 Angela Hildyard Leadership Symposium 2SLGBTQ+ Inclusion & Belonging in Post-Secondary Education

Tuesday, May 16, 2023 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m

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The Angela Hildyard Leadership Symposium is an opportunity for the University’s established and emerging senior leaders to hear and interact with expert speakers in the fields of leadership, equity, diversity and inclusion. We are excited to host an in-person format this year, as we explore 2SLGBTQ+ Inclusion & Belonging in Post-Secondary Education.

This year’s symposium will feature a keynote from Lee Airton, Assistant Professor of Gender & Sexuality Studies in Education at Queen’s University, and a moderated panel discussion on inclusion and belonging with inspiring speakers from across the University of Toronto.

The symposium is happening on Tuesday, May 16, the day before the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB). IDAHOTB is observed annually on May 17 and is a day to celebrate sexual and gender diversity and to condemn the discrimination, violence, and stigma that members of 2SLGBTQ+ communities continue to experience in Canada and globally.


Land Acknowledgement

Allison Burgess, Acting Executive Director, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion


Heather Boon, Acting Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture

Keynote Address: This is exhausting: Toward institutional structures that expect gender diversity

Lee Airton, Assistant Professor of Gender & Sexuality Studies in Education, Queen’s University

Audience Q&A with Lee Airton


Allison Burgess, Acting Executive Director, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Panel Discussion: Institutional Shifts to Move Beyond the Gender Binary in Higher Education


Tara Goldstein, Professor, Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and Vice Principal, New College, University of Toronto


Fae Johnstone, Executive Director, Co-Owner, Wisdom2Action

Seán Kinsella, Director, The Eighth Fire, Centennial College

Lance T. McCready, Associate Professor, Leadership, Higher & Adult Education, OISE and Director, Transitional Year Programme

Audience Q&A with Panelists

Speakers’ Biographies:

Lee Airton headshot

Lee Airton

Dr. Lee Airton is an Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies in Education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. As a researcher, blogger, advocate and speaker, Dr. Airton focuses on enabling individuals and institutions to welcome gender and sexual diversity in everyday life. In 2012, they founded They Is My Pronoun, a Q+A-based blog about gender-neutral pronoun usage and user support with over 30,000 unique visitors in 2017 alone. In recognition of their pronoun advocacy work, Dr. Airton received a 2017 Youth Role Model of the Year Award from the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity. Dr. Airton is also the founder of the No Big Deal Campaign, a national social media initiative that helps people show support for transgender people’s right to have their pronouns used.

In 2021, Dr. Airton and their research team launched Gegi, the first bilingual self-advocacy resource for K-12 students who are experiencing gender expression and gender identity discrimination at school. Dr. Airton’s book Gender – Your Guide: A Gender-Friendly Primer on What to Know, What to Say and What to Do in the New Gender Culture offers practical steps for welcoming gender diversity in all areas of everyday life. With Dr. Susan Woolley, they are the editor of Teaching About Gender Diversity: Teacher-Tested Lesson Plans for K-12 Classrooms. As a university-based teacher educator for over 10 years, Dr. Airton has worked with hundreds of new teachers to widen the circle of belonging and participation for people of all genders and sexualities in schools. Dr. Airton’s SSHRC-funded research program on gender diversity, human rights, policy, law, teaching, and learning has received 10 merit-based research grants since 2018 alone. Their research explores how the Ontario K-12 education system is responding to the inclusion of gender identity and gender expression protections in human rights legislation, and how to make the collection of gender-based data in large studies more reflective of how gender is read and negotiated.

Dr. Airton also leads an action research project in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University, collaborating with staff to remove barriers for transgender and/or gender non-conforming teacher candidates. Externally to Queen’s, Dr. Airton supports school boards, independent schools, private sector and public sector organizations across Canada and internationally in building the capacity to offer a climate free from gender identity and gender expression discrimination of all kinds.

Dr. Airton is a frequent speaker and media commentator, and has been interviewed over 60 times nationally and internationally on topics related to their areas of expertise. Their scholarly publications have appeared in the journals Gender and Education, Sex Education, Curriculum Inquiry, Teachers College Record, the Canadian Journal of Education, and the Journal of Education Policy, and their editorials have been published in The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star.

Heather Boon headshot

Heather Boon

Professor Heather Boon was first appointed to the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, U of T in 1999 and served as Dean of the Faculty from 2014 to 2018. She also holds cross-appointments with the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation and is a licensed pharmacist.

Her research, which focuses on the safety and efficacy of traditional, complementary and integrative health practices and products, and related regulatory and policy issues, has been supported by over $10 million of competitive research grants. She has published more than 180 peer-reviewed articles and numerous book chapters, policy reports, and textbooks. Her most widely cited research critically explores models of integrating traditional and complementary medicine into health care systems, the professionalization projects of traditional and complementary health care practitioner groups in Canada, and approaches to regulating natural health products in Canada and around the world.

Professor Boon has held key administrative roles at U of T and in a variety of national and international associations. She is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Allison Burgess headshot

Allison Burgess

Allison Burgess (she, her, hers) is the Acting Executive Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in the Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture. Previously, as Director, Sexual & Gender Diversity Office, Allison has spent more than a decade developing partnerships, resources, and programs focused on 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion and belonging, including the annual U of T Pride Pub, Trans Day of Remembrance, International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, among others. She has championed process improvements and educational initiatives that have fostered equity and inclusion across the University, including leadership on washroom accessibility, institutional name change processes for members of the university community, and strategic educational events and speaker series. Allison is a mentor in the Rose Patten Mentorship Learning Program.

She holds a PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Graduate Collaborative Program in Women and Gender Studies. Her dissertation, titled “It’s Not A Parade, It’s a March!: Subjectivities, Spectatorship, and Contested Spaces of the Toronto Dyke March” argues that the Dyke March is an event which is intentionally meaningful in its claims to particular spaces and subjectivities and contributes to discussions of queer women’s visibility, representation, and queer activism in Canada.

Tara Goldstein headshot

Tara Goldstein

Tara Goldstein is a Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and the Vice Principal of New College at the University of Toronto. Her current teaching and research program focuses on gender, sexuality and schooling; archival research and verbatim theatre. Tara’s 2021 book, Our Children Are Your Students: LGBTQ Families Speak Out, won two awards this year: a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title award from the Association of College and Research Libraries Association and an Outstanding Book Award from the Society of Professors of Education. Tara’s latest research is an arts-based archival research project called The Love Booth and Other Stories which features seven plays about queer and trans activism in the 1970 and 1980s. The plays will be performed as a rehearsed reading at the Queer Studies in Education and Culture conference at Congress in May 2022 and will be performed at Toronto Pride in June 2023 to mark the 50th anniversary of homosexuality being taken out of the American Psychology Association (APA)’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) in 1973.

Fae Johnstone headshot

Fae Johnstone

Fae Johnstone, MSW, is a leading voice on 2SLGBTQIA+ issues in Canada. She is the Executive Director and Co-Owner of Wisdom2Action Consulting Ltd., a social enterprise and consulting firm that provides a range of services and supports to non-profit organizations, health and social services and government agencies.

Fae is a sought-after public speaker, facilitator and media commentator on 2SLGBTQIA+ issues, mental health and gender justice. Her words regularly appear in the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Star and other major media publications. As an advocate for 2SLGBTQIA+ rights, Fae played a role in the fight to protect transgender rights and ban conversion practices in Canada.

Fae was the 2019 recipient of LGBT Youth Line’s Trans Activism award, and currently serves on the Boards of Directors for YWCA Canada and Oxfam Canada.

You can find Fae on Twitter at @FaeJohnstone.

Sean Kinsella headshot

Seán Kinsella

Seán Kinsella (ê-akimiht nêhi(y/th)aw/otipemisiwak/Nakawé/Irish) is Centennial College’s first Director, the Eighth Fire, a position that was envisioned and developed through the collaboration and leadership of Indigenous community members, Traditionalists and members of both the Aboriginal Education Steering Committee and Aboriginal Education Council.

Seán is migizi dodem (Bald Eagle Clan) and also identifies as two-spirit/queer/aayahkwêw/tastiwiniy and is descended from signatories and kin of Treaties 4, 6 and 8. They were born in Toronto, on Treaty 13 lands and grew up in Williams Treaty territory. Seán has a Masters of Education from the University of Toronto (OISE) and previously served as a contract faculty member in Centennial’s First Peoples stackable credential in addition to working full-time in Student Affairs for 14 years.

Seán also writes poetry and has been featured at several mainstream and queer author’s festivals and workshops over the last few years and is a regular contributor at Glad Day Bookstore’s Smut Peddlers reading series.

Lance T. McCready headshot

Lance T. McCready

Dr. Lance T. McCready (he/him, they/them) is the lead researcher for the Making Spaces Lab and an Associate Professor in the Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and Director (Interim) of the Transitional Year Programme at University of Toronto. His research explores education, health and the well-being of Black men, boys and queer youth in urban communities and schools. He is the author of Making Space for Diverse Masculinities published by Peter Lang and is Principal Investigator of the Black Student University Access Network and Restorative Justice African, Caribbean, Black Family Group Conferencing Project. He is the 2018 recipient of the Distinguished Research Scholar Award from the Ontario Education Research Symposium.



If you require any accessibility accommodation(s), please email, or call 416-978-8587 and we will work with you to make appropriate arrangements.

About Angela Hildyard:

Angela Hildyard is the Special Advisor to the President and the Provost at the University of Toronto. Prior to this she was Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity; Principal of Woodsworth College; and Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. She is a Professor of Leadership and Diversity in Higher Education at OISE. During her administrative career, Professor Hildyard was responsible for salary and benefits negotiations for 20,000 employees and was accountable to the University Community and the Board of Governors for policies and programs pertaining to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Professor Hildyard continues to teach and supervise graduate students and serves as a mentor to many members of the U of T community.

The Angela Hildyard Leadership Fund:

The Angela Hildyard Leadership Fund was created by the University in 2016 to recognize Angela’s significant contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion at U of T during her tenure as Vice-President, Human Resources and Equity.

Donations to the fund support the annual Angela Hildyard Leadership Symposium, an event focusing on leadership and equity.

Learn more about past events: