It is heartbreaking that we are once again confronting an example of hate and violence in Canada. This time, the event is very close to home: a vicious attack on a member of the LGBTQ2S+ and U of T community at Hanlan’s Point on the Toronto Islands. A well-known and popular gathering place for the LGBTQ2S+ community, Hanlan’s Point is also where Toronto first marked Pride 40 years ago.
It defies all sense of humanity that such acts continue to take place. The University of Toronto condemns hate and discrimination in any form, including homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and sexual and gender-based violence. That this incident occurred during Pride Month is especially devastating. It shows that we have more to do to ensure acceptance and belonging are shared realities, not aspirations.
I urge you to show solidarity and compassion as we all process this event. I also recognize this is an especially painful time for LGBTQ2S+ communities within and outside Toronto.
Our Sexual & Gender Diversity Office (SGDO), the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Offices at UTM and UTSC, the Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre, and the Community Safety Office are available to provide support to students, staff, faculty, librarians, and community members.
If you are a student who needs immediate support, please call the Health & Wellness Centre at (416) 978-8030 to speak with a counsellor. Counselling is also available through the U of T My Student Support Program (U of T My SSP) 24/7 by calling1 (844) 451-9700.
Staff and faculty members can access mental health resources and supports through the Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP). The 24/7 helpline at 1-800-663-1142 provides support for those experiencing grief, stress, and trauma.
Beyond U of T, the following local resources are also available for members of the LGBTQ2S+ community:
- The 519 The 519 is committed to the health, happiness and full participation of LGBTQ2S communities. A City of Toronto agency with an innovative model of Service, Space,and Leadership, they strive to make a real difference in people’s lives, while working to promote inclusion, understanding,and respect.
- LGBT Youthline LGBT Youthline is a Queer, Trans, Two-Spirit youth-led organization that affirms and supports the experiences of youth (29 and under) across Ontario. They offer confidential, non-judgemental and informed LGBTTQQ2SI Peer Support resources.
- Toronto PFlag Toronto PFlag promotes the health and well-being of LGBTQ2S+ individuals by helping to keep families together through Support and Education. They host regular support groups, currently being conducted virtually.