With the upcoming school year set to begin, LGBTOUT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Trans People of the University of Toronto) is planning an unprecedented slate of events and campaigns.
LGBTOUT is a student-run group that creates and maintains relationships between queer and allied U of T students and faculty through awareness campaigns, community involvement, safe spaces, and resources.
According to Benjamin Donato-Woodger, LGBTOUT public relations coordinator, the most significant campaign for the fall semester is the Crack the Vote campaign.
The campaign aims to create conversations around LGBTQ issues ahead of October’s mayoral election. As part of the campaign, LGBTOUT has invited mayoral candidate Olivia Chow and city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam — longstanding supporters of the LGBTQ community — to a meet-and-greet at Sammy’s Student Exchange on September 19.
LGBTOUT is also organizing Packing Change, a homelessness awareness fundraising drive for supplies for LGBTQ and two-spirit youth who are vulnerable to homelessness, HIV, and violence.
LGBTOUT will also hold the annual Homohop, an all-ages dance party, and Queer Ball, a semi-formal event with food and drink.
Amidst the event planning, the newly renovated LGBTOUT drop-in centre, located in the archway of University College’s Sir Daniel Wilson Residence, remains the focal point of the group’s operations.
“The drop-in centre is a safe space on campus [that] allows LGBTQ students and their allies an opportunity to be themselves, access educational resources — including free safer sex supplies — and join in several social events throughout the academic year,” said Cathie Renner, LGBTOUT volunteer coordinator at the drop-in centre. Students can apply to staff the drop-in centre beginning in early September.
LGBTOUT was founded as the University of Toronto Homophile Association in 1969. It is the oldest LGBTQ student organization in Canada.