The Positive Spaces Initiative (PSI) was developed by OCASI to share resources and increase organizational capacity across the immigrant- and refugee-serving sector to more effectively serve LGBTQ+ newcomers. OCASI recognizes the strengths of its member agencies, and strives to support all agencies to create Positive Spaces. The initiative is grounded in the understanding that LGBTQ+ newcomers are often a part of multiple communities, and seek welcoming service regardless of age, race, cultural community, faith or religion, disability, gender, status, etc. The strength of Positive Spaces is in creating an environment which strives to understand the overlapping and intersecting nature of our communities.
What are Positive Spaces?
Positive Spaces are welcoming environments where Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual, Genderqueer, etc. (LGBTQ+) newcomers are able to access culturally inclusive services with dignity and respect, and where service providers can work free from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
Everyone can work to create Positive Spaces by challenging homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heterosexism, and cissexism.
While gains have been made regarding LGBTQ+ inclusion within settlement services, discrimination, stigma and silence surrounding the issues still exist. We strive to create Positive Spaces in order to acknowledge the rich diversity that exists in our communities and to continue to foster the development of inclusive spaces.
Positive Spaces encourage training, education, leadership, and resource-sharing to support LGBTQ+ newcomers, staff, volunteers and community members to fully participate in communities. By helping to create inclusive spaces, you are demonstrating your commitment to visibly welcome diversity. You are also ensuring that everyone has the chance to access service in a safe, welcoming environment – which is a human right.
How To Get Started…
Anyone can work to make a space more inclusive. To begin, download the Starter Kit and review the resources and information on how to create Positive Spaces. There are also a number of Positive Space Campaigns throughout Ontario on university and college campuses, in health care organizations and in workplaces. Many Positive Space campaign websites include information on how to create a Positive Space that is customized to the needs of your agency. Check out the Find Training and Find Resources sections of this site to learn more.