Langara’s new sexual and gender diversity advisor, if elected, plans to pump new life into the LGBT community using social media and posters to rally social gatherings.
Prior to running, it was hard for Eva Snyder, who identifies as a queer, to find any evidence of a healthy LGBT community on campus. Driven by a vision of a vibrant crowd, she signed on as a candidate for the role.
“The first thing I’d like to have happen is to bring back the queer alliance that was together a few years ago. And the first step to doing that is have an online presence,” said Snyder.
Snyder stressed that the key to more participation is anonymity if someone doesn’t feel comfortable disclosing his or her identity.
LGBT students at Langara still skeptical
Having seen past resignations, one queer student has less optimistic views.
“Hopefully whoever gets in lasts a bit longer than most people, but there needs to be a lot of changes with the LSU, before we could actually see people stick in those positions,” said the student, who asked not to be named for fear of cyber abuse from the Langara Students’ Union.
Langara’s former queer liaison, Sonja Sandberg, said one of her biggest achievements was sailing around union politics to revive the old Queer Resource Room.
Towards the end of her term, she saw more activity in the once “underutilized” room, although she emphasized a need for the LSU to be more transparent.
Her advice to the incoming candidate is, “Work with whatever resources you can get and don’t try to engage too much with the LSU governing body, just work for what you need to accomplish.”
Positive queer activism
Despite roadblocks her predecessor faced, Snyder insists on positive queer activism. Instead of criticizing homophobic behaviour, it’s about “embracing the diversity we do have and all the victories that the LGBT community as a whole has made in the past,” Snyder said.
After years of soul-searching, working on a farm and cycling from Vancouver to Mexico, she found self-acceptance during a year spent in an ashram in interior B.C. The remedies that soothed her struggle as a queer were writing and self-reflection.
“It’s really a process of learning, and that’s what I continue to do,” Snyder said.
Reported by Jenny Peng
Here are a few online resources for LGBT students looking for support:
Qmunity – “B.C.’s Queer Resource Centre”
Youth in BC – Drop-ins for LGBTQ support around the Lower Mainland
On My Planet – LGBT community groups in the Vancouver