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Spotlight on Jeffrey Brewer | Pride Q&A

In honour of Pride 2024, Yorkville University is shining a spotlight on some of the members of our 2SLGBTQIA+ Advisory Council. 

Jeffrey Brewer, who serves as YU’s Director of Curriculum Design, is one of the co-chairs of the council. He recently sat down to share a little about himself, what Pride means to him, and how he’ll be celebrating this year. Here’s what he had to say: 

Tell us a little about yourself.

Born and raised in Fredericton, NB, I recently moved back home from Halifax to serve as the Director of Curriculum Design here at YU/TFS. I consider myself beyond fortunate to work with such an incredible team dedicated to crafting stellar academic programs. Outside of my partner and two kids, I love writing, film, and (good) sushi!

Why did you choose to join the 2SLGBTQIA+ Advisory Council?

At a very low point in my life at age 17, another family had taken me in. I remember vividly lying on a mattress on the floor and committing that if I made it out of this rut that I would dedicate my life to helping others who face discrimination and oppression. Since that time, I have been involved in equity work both within professional settings and beyond – and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

The theme for 2024 Pride is about unity, resilience and acceptance encapsulated in the phrase “Be__________”.  What are you choosing to be?

Undeniable. When I came out over 25 years ago, the predominant message was that I would end up alone with no family. I refuted that messaging, surrounded myself with allies, and pursued my path relentlessly. Now I have a beautiful family, and I am the PROUDEST father to two amazing kiddos.

What does Pride Month mean to you?

To me, Pride is a journey. So many in the community have faced rejection not just from society broadly, but also from their faith communities and, in many cases, their own families. Sometimes you hear stories where family members are unconditionally supportive, and these are moments of celebration. For many, however, their journey begins with shame and judgment. One of the reasons the community is so important for so many is because it provides a ‘backup’ family of sorts where you can find acceptance – a safe haven.

There’s also a bit of a misconception around the concept of ‘coming out’. This isn’t a one-time event. It’s constant and ongoing – and sometimes tiring! Many folks describe it as constantly scanning to determine how safe a given environment is before disclosing. When I was a public school teacher, for example, I was advised by other teachers to wait until I got my permanent contract before coming out more widely. And so, part of the pride journey can be navigating these pragmatic matters while continuing to believe in yourself. 

How will you be celebrating Pride this year?

As our first year here in Fredericton for Pride, we will definitely check out the Parade and other events.

How can individuals work towards allyship?

Don’t mistake friendliness for ‘friendly’ policy.

And never underestimate the power and impact of speaking up, even in the smallest of ways, and in the smallest of circles. You never know who is listening intently for a sign of safety and acceptance. 

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