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

Inclusion in Action

Speaker Series

The Institutional Equity Office (IEO) invites members of the University of Toronto and community members to attend our inaugural Inclusion in Action Speaker Series.

The goal of this series is to host local and international experts, academics, and advocates to increase dialogue and understanding of equity, accessibility, and inclusion in postsecondary environments. Through an intersectional lens, the series focuses on systems of discrimination with the aim of dismantling attitudes and processes that uphold ongoing exclusion and marginalization.

Previous Events

June 12, 2023

This session will explore disability justice and its principles with a particular focus on conversations of intersectionality and Blackness. Participants will learn practical strategies within teaching and learning to embed disability justice within various environments. Dr. Schalk will join a panel of U of T community members to critically analyze how ableism manifests and can be disrupted in working and learning environments.


Sami Schalk headshot

Dr. Sami Schalk

Dr. Sami Schalk (she/her) is an associate professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction (Duke 2018) and Black Disability Politics (Duke 2022). Dr. Schalk’s academic work focuses on race, disability, and gender in contemporary American literature and culture. She also writes for mainstream outlets, including a monthly column called “Pleasure Practices” in TONE Madison. Dr. Schalk identifies as a fat, Black, queer, disabled femme and a pleasure activist.

U of T Community Members:

Alicia Abbot    View Bio
President, University of Toronto Accessibility Awareness Club (U-TAAC)
Undergraduate Student at the University of Toronto

Chloë Atkins    View Bio
Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Policial Science at the U of T Scarborough
Primary Investigator, Phenomenological Research/Remedies on Under-employment and Disability (The PROUD Project)

Máiri McKenna Edwards    View Bio
Coordinator, Diversity, Equity & Student Experience, Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE

April 17, 2023

In this session, participants will develop an understanding of how the gender binary plays out in everyday life, forming the basis of assumptions about students, staff, faculty, and librarians within post-secondary settings. Participants will explore how long-held beliefs about sex and gender (as well as race and disability) can shape approaches to teaching, learning, working, and providing services that result in the disproportionate exclusion and marginalization of gender expansive people. This presentation reveals how the gender binary imposes limitations on gender expression and gender identity for many people, not only for those who fall outside the gender binary. The presentation traces the intersections of gender with racialization, colonialism, and ableism, increasing participants’ capacity to identify how myths about the sex and gender binaries impact all members of post-secondary communities. Participants will explore strategies to challenge these myths in order to create more inclusive, responsive, and supportive post-secondary environments for all.

Learning objectives:

  • Draw links between the sex and gender binaries and whiteness, colonialism, ableism, and class.
  • Build skills to identify patterns and processes of gender-based discrimination, transphobia, and gender policing in post-secondary education.
  • Self-reflect on how attitudes and actions related to gender binaries are played out individually, interpersonally and systemically.
  • Review strategies to challenge binary thinking and work towards systems and practices that foster belonging of all.
  • Examine strategies that have been implemented in other sectors that can serve as models for post-secondary spaces to deepen equity and inclusion.




ALOK (they/them) is an internationally acclaimed author, poet, comedian, and public speaker. As a mixed-media artist their work explores themes of trauma, belonging, and the human condition. They are the author of Femme in Public (2017), Beyond the Gender Binary (2020), and Your Wound/My Garden (2021). They are the creator of #DeGenderFashion: a movement to degender fashion and beauty industries and have been honored as one of Huffington Post’s Culture Shifters, NBC’s Pride 50, and Business Insider’s Doers. Over the past decade they have toured in more than 40 countries, most recently headlining the Vancouver Just for Laughs Comedy Festival and selling out their runs at the Soho Theatre in London and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They are currently on a world tour of their new show which has been described as “provocative and powerful” (Chortle), a “Potent combination of comedy and poetry” (The Scotsman), and a “Jaw-dropping celestial event” (To Do List London). On screen, they will make their feature film debut in Netflix’s Absolute Dominion. On television, they have appeared on Netflix’s Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness and The Trans List.

December 5, 2022

By attending this session, participants will:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of the myths that uphold whiteness;
  • Draw links between whiteness and intersecting forms of oppression and hierarchy, such as anti-Black racism, colonialism, capitalism, and ableism;
  • Gain skills to identify and analyze patterns and processes of whiteness within the academy; and
  • Self-reflect on how whiteness as a system is upheld through attitudes and actions within the workplace and learning environment and how these attitudes and actions can be challenged on individual and interpersonal levels.


Dr. Sheelah McLean
Dr. Sheelah McLean

Sheelah McLean is a third-generation white settler who was born and raised on Treaty 6 territory. Dr. McLean has worked in education for thirty years teaching high school, adult education and graduate and undergraduate courses in anti-racism at the University of Saskatchewan. As a scholar and Idle No More organizer, Sheelah’s work has focused on research projects and actions that address colonial violence. She is currently a curriculum developer for San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Program.

Dr. Alex Wilson

Dr. Alex Wilson

Dr. Alex Wilson is Neyonawak Inniniwak from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. She is a professor with the Department of Educational Foundations. Dr. Wilson’s scholarship has greatly contributed to building and sharing knowledge about two spirit identity, history and teachings, Indigenous research methodologies, and the prevention of violence in the lives of Indigenous peoples. Her current projects include two spirit and Indigenous Feminisms research: Two-Spirit identity development and “Coming In” theory that impact pedagogy and educational policy; studies on two spirit people and homelessness; and an International study on Indigenous land-based education.

Dr. Wilson is one of many organizers with the Idle No More movement, integrating radical education movement work with grassroots interventions that prevent the destruction of land and water.