Yorkville Faculty & Staff Mark Pride 2023 with Telus Health LGBTQ2S+ Webinar


June 23, 2023

Yorkville University and Toronto Film School recently recognized Pride Month with a pair of Telus Health workshops for faculty and staff entitled Introduction to LGBTQ2S+ Identities & Communities

Facilitated by Michel Arsenault, Telus Health’s Clinical Director, the virtual and interactive workshops were aimed at helping to build important foundations for awareness of the histories, identities, and issues of exclusion and oppression faced by LGBTQ2S+ people. 

Over the course of the hour-long sessions, participants were familiarized with key LGBTQ2S+ terminologies and explored the lived experiences of the diverse array of identities under the broad umbrella of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics.

Participants also heard about the legal, moral and business cases for LGBTQ2S+ inclusion in the workplace. 

Arsenault outlined how, from a legal standpoint, equal rights and fair treatment of all identities are enshrined in different Human Rights codes, legislation, policies and procedures at different levels of government, while from a moral one, treating others with dignity and respect is the right thing to do.

From a business perspective, meanwhile, he outlined how both retention and contribution increase when employers foster a sense of belonging and inclusion among employees.

“I know, for me personally, I couldn’t do my work if I couldn’t be my true self – it would be so much harder. Interestingly, there was a study done where diversity was measured against business performance, and companies that had a diverse workforces outperformed businesses that didn’t,” he said. 

“And from a moral perspective, it’s just the right thing to do. Equality is a human right at the end of the day, and a fair and respectful workplace is better for all. I’m a true believer that we should all have the right to be our true selves in the workplace.”  

There was also discussion surrounding allyship, which Arsenault defined as the act of demonstrating support, advocacy and action towards addressing marginalization and discrimination. 

Effective allies, he added, are those who are:

  • Invested in expanding their own knowledge
  • Committed to questioning harmful stereotypes and unconscious beliefs in themselves and others
  • Able to thoughtfully listen and amplify voices that need to be heard 
  • Willing to be active, and speak out and speak up when needed