Strengthening the Status Queer: A Leadership Symposium for and by Queer People
On Saturday, October 22, the Faculty of Education hosted Strengthening the Status Queer: A leadership Symposium for and by Queer People. The event was organized by Dr. Robert Mizzi (Canada Research Chair in Queer, Community, and Diversity Education) and The Manitoba Teachers’ Society.
The symposium was intended for aspiring and experienced two spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer (2SLGBTQ) leaders, and general nonconforming people who have an interest in queer leadership. The main focus of the symposium was to “provide capacity-building sessions, inspire 2SLGBTQ people to enter leadership roles, and connect with one another,” explained Dr. Mizzi.
The event also featured a keynote address by Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, an internationally recognized expert on educational policy, school reform, teacher preparation, and educational equity and social justice, with a wide-ranging list of accomplishments and awards as a scholar, educator, leader, and advocate.
“This is a historic event in Canada. To the best of our knowledge, no other university has partnered with a teachers association to organize such an event. Two-Spirit or queer leadership is a rare topic among leadership organizations or programs in general,” said Dr. Robert Mizzi.
The Symposium featured 10 sessions where speakers shared their stories and empowered participants to use their voice, create community and connect with leaders. “The event provided a space where we could sit together and just be ourselves, without worrying about performing in certain ways, regulating our behaviour, or how people might be perceiving us. That’s a rare thing and it was incredible to have that space together,” said Christopher Campbell, PhD Student & Event Co-Organizer.
“I think the event was really important to focus conversations about queer leadership and how people navigate those positions. We all know queer leaders, but we don’t often talk about what leadership means in an in-depth way or consider what queerness has to offer in leadership positions,” said Christopher Campbell.