Pride at SAIT
Experience an inclusive community at SAIT
SAIT is a diverse campus and we are committed to providing an inclusive place to work and study. We will continue to enhance resources for our 2SLGBTQ+ community and effect positive change.
In partnership with the 2SLGBTQ+ community, allies and the Pride at SAIT Committee — a volunteer advisory committee from SAIT and SAITSA — we're working to provide a community at SAIT that is inclusive of and accessible to all individuals regardless of gender expression, gender identity or sexual orientation.
Connect with the SAIT Pride community!🌈
- Sign up for the Pride at SAIT mailing list so you don't miss out on news about events and support for SAIT's 2SLGBTQ+ community!
- Need a lunch buddy? SAIT and SAITSA have partnered for Pride at Lunch, where 2SLGBTQ+ students and allies can meet up for some fun on Thursdays between 11 am and 1 pm in MC311.
Free gender markers initiative
Gowling WLG has partnered with the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) to undertake a pro bono legal initiative in support of trans and non-binary individuals seeking to change the gender markers on their official identification documents. As one of Canada’s largest law firms, they’re well-equipped to help individuals update their birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses and other identification documents to reflect their gender markers.
Anyone interested in taking advantage of Gowling WLG’s free notary and commissioning services can contact their gender marker group directly at email@example.com to set up a virtual appointment. For more information on making changes to gender markers on official documentation, please refer to the CCGSD’s resource guide, which includes province-specific forms and information on how to proceed with the gender marker and name change processes.
How to be an ally
It's important to show support for your 2SLGBTQ+ friends by being a good ally. Not sure how? Start with these easy steps!
Support during COVID-19
We understand this is a unique and challenging time. There are a number of supports and resources available to the 2SLGBTQ+ community:
- Access student supports. Even if you’re not physically on campus, you’re still part of the SAIT community and support is available.
- Connect with the 2SLGBTQ+ community virtually. Calgary Outlink and the Centre for Sexuality are hosting online hangouts, training and support while their offices are closed — find events listed on their Facebook pages.
- Take free online training. Learn about the history, terms and phrases of the 2SLGBTQ+ community by completing Pride at Work Canada’s course, LGBT 101. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested. Questions? Connect with us — email email@example.com
Current information on SAIT’s response to COVID-19 and a set of evolving frequently asked questions for students are available at sait.ca/covid19.
Definitions and understanding
Often we hear that people are not sure what the appropriate nomenclature is for the 2SLGBTQ+ community. There is a rainbow of definitions used in today's culture and we recommend reviewing the definitions provided by the Centre for Sexuality and exploring some of the external link resources listed below.
Someone who is physically and emotionally attracted to people of the same gender. The term ‘homosexual’ has historically been used in hurtful ways, which is why many people now use other terms like lesbian, gay and bisexual.
A woman who is physically and emotionally attracted to other women. This word is derived from ‘Lesbos’, a Greek island home to Sappho, a poet and teacher who loved other women.
Term for someone with physical and emotional attraction to someone of the same gender. The term was used in the mid-1800s to mid-1900s to describe anyone engaging in any ‘unconventional’ sexual behaviour for the time (such as oral sex). ‘Gay’ can be used to talk about both men and women or more generally, the ‘gay community’, but it commonly refers to men.
Someone who is attracted physically and emotionally to people of the same or different genders. Bisexual people are not necessarily attracted equally to men and women and not always attracted to both men and women at the same time. Bisexuality is often thought of as a ‘phase’ on the way to coming out as gay or lesbian, but for many people, being bisexual is a life-long sexual identity.
A newer term for someone who is attracted physically and emotionally to another person regardless of gender or sex. This term is often used by those who wish to express their understanding and acceptance of trans and intersexed people. Also sometimes used by people wishing to express their openness to a broad range of sexual activities such as BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Domination, Submission, Sadism, Masochism).
Someone who is attracted physically and emotionally to more than one gender or sex but does not want to identify as bisexual because it is rooted in the idea of two genders (‘bi’- sexuality meaning ‘two’).
An umbrella term for a social/intellectual/political movement that seeks to encompass a broad range of sexual identities, behaviours and expressions. It is also a personal identity that has been ‘re-claimed’ because queer has been historically used as a vicious insult. Sometimes it is used as a short form that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgender people.
2SLGBTQ+ is an acronym used to identify two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning identities, while the plus sign (+) expands the acronym to include other identities. You may have noticed SAIT has shifted from using the LGBTQ2+ acronym to 2SLGBTQ+. Two-spirit is now recognized first in acknowledgement of Indigenous people being first on these lands.
LGBT is a shortened acronym for ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.' This may appear in various combinations.
A person’s self-identified sense of being male, female, neither or both; how we think about and express our gender. An easy way to think of the differen[ce] between sex and gender is ‘sex is between your legs and gender is between your ears’.
A self-identifying term for someone whose gender identity or expression differs significantly from the gender they were assigned at birth. Transgender is also a political umbrella term used to refer to everyone who crosses gender roles in one way or another including transsexuals, drag queens and transvestites. Some people (‘transgenderists’) live in a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth but without wanting to change their genitalia.
Someone whose gender identity is different from the biological sex that they were assigned at birth. A transsexual person might change their physical sex by having surgery (known as Sex Reassignment Surgery or SRS), take hormones (testosterone or estrogens), do electrolysis and/or wear gender-specific clothing. This process of change is known as transitioning. Transsexuals may be referred to as female-to-male (FTM: a trans man) or male-to-female (MTF: a trans woman).” A trans woman should absolutely be referred to as ‘she’ and a trans man as ‘he’. Transsexual or transgender people may identify as gay, lesbian, straight or bisexual or otherwise.
A short form for transsexual and transgender.
A First Nations term used in various ways by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or transsexual, or who literally embody both a male and female identity and perspective. This term particularly refers to gender. Two-Spirited people had positive and elevated status among some Aboriginal nations prior to the arrival of Europeans.
Refers to people who are born with a combination of male and female anatomy. The term ‘hermaphrodite’ used to be used, but is now considered inappropriate and offensive.
Someone who chooses to wear clothing that is associated with the opposite gender. It is a word that has replaced the word ‘transvestite’.
We encourage gender-diverse students who would like to discuss preferred name changes in confidence to contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you meet with a representative who can outline currently available options, provide support with informing instructors and also offer 2SLGBTQ+ resources at SAIT.
Binary (M/F) washrooms and change rooms can present barriers to students and staff with varying needs. The committee and the larger SAIT campus have been working on various initiatives to reduce these barriers. Recent changes include:
- Universal washrooms - Accessible and gender-inclusive washrooms
- Heritage Hall (AA126)
- Senator Burns building (NJ102B)
- Thomas Riley building (TT113)
- John Ware building (E13 - closed during the renovation)
- E.H. Crandell building (G102D)
- Green Building Technologies (Lab and Demonstration Centre)
These changes help reduce barriers for people with varying needs, which may include:
- limited accessibility
- lack of private space
- restrictive cultural norms in terms of gender identity and expression
We recognize the limitations with facilities in certain buildings and are committed to reviewing these initiatives on a regular basis.
Click the image of the map to download.
Saitsa Pride Club and Pride at SAIT committee
Whether you're looking to network, make new friends or give back to the community, being part of a student club is one of the most fulfilling ways students get the most out of campus life. Visit Saitsa Clubs to sign up and start checking out the student clubs on campus.
As a volunteer advisory committee, Pride at SAIT continues to work to ensure that the SAIT community is inclusive of and accessible to all individuals. The committee strives to meet its mission through:
- working toward the elimination of heterosexism, transphobia, homophobia and gender identity oppression within the SAIT community
- outreach to the SAIT community
To learn more about the committee and how to get involved, please email email@example.com.
|Chair / Student Leadership Coordinator||
Sarah Ward (she/her)
|Sarah has worked at SAIT for 11 years and is currently the Student Engagement Facilitator in Learner Services, where she coordinates opportunities for students to lead, have fun, and build a community outside the classroom. After work you’ll find her playing UNO with her five-year-old, hiking, redecorating something in her home, or bingeing the latest murder podcast while doing a ridiculously difficult puzzle. She considers it an honour and privilege to work so closely with SAIT’s 2SLGBTQ+ community towards a culture of inclusion for all.|
Nicole Gerlitz (she/her)
|Nicole has worked in the Business Intelligence and Analytics group at SAIT for almost a decade. Her work is dedicated to listening to students and apprentices to better understand how SAIT can improve all aspects of the student journey, from the moment they learn about SAIT to after graduation. Nicole has been honoured to be a part of the Pride at SAIT committee for the past four years.|
An Tran (she/her)
|An is a dedicated ally of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and leverages her background in marketing communications in her role as Pride at SAIT’s Communications Coordinator. It has also helped with her work as a Career Advisor with SAIT’s Career Advancement Services, where she helps students and alumni market their strengths to employers. An is a proud cinephile (read: movie buff/snob), and enjoys combining her passion for movies with her love of writing through screenwriting.|
|Community Relations Coordinator||
Dana Marsh (they/them)
|Dana teaches in the School for Advanced Digital Technology (formerly the School of Information and Communications Technologies) in the areas of programming, databases, and design, and is a Board member of Fierté Canada Pride, the national association of Pride organizers. Originally from Tk'əmlúps (colonially known as Kamloops), Dana relocated (back) to Mohkínstsis in 2020 to be closer to the mountains. They enjoy travelling (when it’s safe), reading, hiking, paddle boarding, and trying to keep up with all the podcasts they’re subscribed to. They live with their partner and their 2 pups, Maimee the chihuahua and Moose the pitbull.|
|Education and Training Coordinator||
Terri Eklund (she/her)
|Terri was a founding member of the Pride at SAIT Committee and continues to serve as the Education and Training Coordinator. As an educational developer, she brings her 10 years of teaching experience to support teaching and learning at SAIT. Terri believes that education and conversation are critical components for equity work and seeks out ways to grow in this space. Outside of SAIT, Terri serves on the Board of Directors for Pride at Work Canada. She's also a proud SAIT graduate, a serious NFL fan, and a skilled movie-quoter.|
|Member at Large||
John Partington (he/him)
|John is the Associate Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at SAIT. He brings nine years of progressive experience in higher education administration and is a founding member of the Pride at SAIT Committee. Originally from Ottawa, ON, he holds a Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, a Master of Arts from McMaster University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Bishop’s University.|
|Programming and Activities Coordinator||
Lukas Valentine (he/him)
|Lukas is an elder millennial who represents the ‘G’ in 2SLGBTQ+. When he’s not programming kick-ass events at SAIT, you’ll find him in the kitchen baking up delicious treats or in the digital world of video games. He’s passionate about connection and collaboration and believes we’ve come a long way as a community but there’s still work to be done. He believes that bringing people together is the first step in creating a better world for everyone and through collaboration, we can make that happen. If you see him around, say hi or reach out if you want to connect!|
Hayley Puppato (she/her)
|Hayley is a Junior Researcher with the Green Building Technologies research department in SAIT. Her background is in environmental science, and she graduated from SAIT’s Environmental Technologies program. She’s excited to participate in the Pride at SAIT Committee and provide support to enhance SAIT’s services and supports to the 2SLGBTQ+ community.|
Colleen Burnett (she/her)
|Colleen is the Assistant Manager, Student Experience with the SAIT Students’ Association (Saitsa). She graduated from SAIT’s Administrative Information Management program in 2017 and after falling in love with SAIT campus as a student, she’s thrilled to be back as an employee! Colleen’s been with Saitsa since 2017 and has been involved with the Pride at SAIT Committee since the start of 2018. Being a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community herself, finding ways to support students has always been a priority for her. When she’s not at work, she spends her time hanging out with her dog and fiancée.|
|Student Leadership Representative||
Cassidy ElDarazi (he/him)
|Cassidy is a second-year Business Administration student. As a Pride Student Leader, he advocates strongly for mental health and inclusivity. With a background in public service and taxation, his goal is to become a taxation lawyer and start a non-profit with a focus on mental health initiatives for vulnerable minorities. In his free time, Cassidy enjoys playing video games and trading card games, and spending time with his cat Lily and husband Eddy.|
|Student Leadership Representative||
Katherine Mantupar (she/her)
|Katherine is a second-year Information Systems Security student. As a Pride Student leader, she would like to advocate for the 2SLGBTQ+ community at SAIT. Aside from studying full-time, Katherine works in a group home for people with mental conditions. She also does volunteer work for elderly people afflicted with dementia. Katherine strongly believes in the utmost importance of mental health. Even with her hectic schedule, she still finds time to indulge in self-care. Whenever at home, Katherine spends time relaxing and playing with her two dogs, Kody and Lizzy.|
Individuals with questions, concerns or complaints about accommodation, discrimination and harassment can find confidential support and advocacy both on and off-campus.
- Positive spaces provide SAIT students with a place where they can experience diversity, inclusion and feel empowered. Visit or contact Accessibility Services or Academic Coaching and Tutoring for additional support to help you feel more at home at SAIT.
- Gender and sexuality support through Student Development and Counselling Services
- Harassment and discrimination hotline: 403.210.4406
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