Georgian alumnus talks about the importance of safer spaces and being an ally
June 18, 2020

Dale Boyle is a proud Georgian alumnus who graduated from the Business Administration program in 2012 and has recently returned to Georgian as a part-time student to take the Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (Management and Leadership) program.

Since graduating from Georgian, Dale has been working as the Safer Spaces Program Manager at the Gilbert Centre, a local non-profit organization in Barrie.

How was your student experience? I enjoyed my student experience, as varied as it was. During my three-year program, I managed to be part of a student association and hold three jobs on campus.

I was part of a close group of peers who completed the program together; me and one friend in particular engaged in a friendly grade competition throughout our coursework. I also was part of the Georgian Pride student group, and supported the membership of queer and trans students and faculty on campus. As a tour guide on campus for one of my co-op placements, I became quite acquainted with staff and prospective students. The ability to network among the school was instrumental in shaping my student experience.

A young smiling male wearing black business attire

What are some of your favourite Georgian memories? Some of my favourite Georgian memories are the people. I had many fortunate opportunities to work alongside staff at the college, and those relationships would live long past my graduation. 

Tell us about the Safer Spaces Program. Safer Spaces provides organizational assessments, professional development workshops, and consultation services to create more inclusive programs and workplaces for 2SLGBTQ+ communities. 

How does the Gilbert Centre and Georgian work together to build a more inclusive community? The college has been working closely with the Gilbert Centre over the past decade and introduced several of our programs on campus – during student orientation, mental health weeks, and at events.

In particular, with my Safer Spaces program, I’ve been delighted to schedule workshops on creating 2SLGBTQ inclusion on a nearly annual basis since I graduated. Workshops have been delivered to Campus Safety and Security, Student Life, Athletics, Student Success, Co-op and Career Services, The Lasts Class/First Class, the Georgian College Students’ Association, various classes, and other departments throughout the years. I also sit on Georgian’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee as a community partner to further discussions and provide support in creating a more inclusive campus.

You implemented a similar program while you were at Georgian. Tell us a bit about it and what kind of training you did. During my time as a student, I was hired by the college during my third co-op placement to provide a new and limited service on campus. The opportunity was specifically created for me, and spearheaded with the support of multiple influential people on campus, with resources being provided from multiple departments. For one semester, a program called the Ally Campaign ran at the college, where 61 workshops were delivered across six campuses, with over 1,400 people in attendance.

A young smiling male wearing a green shirt and black vest holding out a glass award. There is a person standing behind me wearing a green shirt.

Read Dale’s final report on positive space at Georgian that he prepared as part of his co-op experience.

Why is it important to be an 2SLGBTQ+ ally? Supporting Two-Spirit, trans, and queer communities improve everyone in a community. The efforts made to be more inclusive of one demographic often have unintended but real benefits to others who are not a part of that community.

The statistics and research on why it’s important are overwhelming, and I encourage people to read local research on the experiences of people in their region. The Gilbert Centre and Safer Spaces websites are able to provide research and reports on the experiences of queer and trans communities in our region.

What are some ways we can become an ally? Listen. Learn. Educate. Act:

  • Being an ally includes listening to other people’s stories, to hear how they interact with our world differently than what you may.
  • Being an ally means unlearning the unconscious teachings from our past and teaching yourself information you otherwise may not have ever needed to learn.
  • Being an ally means engaging in conversations with others, facilitating challenging conversations that others are tired of having.
  • Being an ally is taking action and being an advocate for change.

What’s your definition of an ally? Being an ally is not an identity. Being an ally is embarking on a series of actions to better a community and people who you do not identify as.

Is there anything else you want to add? The queer and trans community owe our human rights and societal inclusion to the advocacy and direct involvement of queer and trans people of colour. For too long, praise and credit have been unjustly given to white cisgender men, and we need to provide the recognition and tribute to people of colour that they deserve. I would encourage people to do some reading into the Stonewall Riots and Compton Cafeteria Riots for further insight.

A young smiling male wearing an orange jumpsuit leaning back over the edge of a tall building outside. He's strapped in with pulleys

What do you like to do when you’re not working? I often spend too much time binge watching a new sitcom, enjoy the occasional video game, watch superhero movies, and spend time with my neighbour laughing with wine and food.

If you could live in a TV show, book or movie, which one would you choose and why? The Marvel Universe, more specifically X-Men. I’ve found the story of a group of people who are born with a mutation, often granted extraordinary abilities, and ridiculed for being different, is a narrative that shares elements with being queer. The only difference is that we’re not able to teleport, fly, or shoot lasers out of our eyes, but we were born into a life that some people are choosing to criticizing beyond our control.

Two young males wearing face masks. The one on the right is wearing a red spiderman mask and the one on the left is wearing a yellow and black mask.

What advice would you give your younger self? There’s no need to hold yourself back; trying your best will be enough.

What makes you laugh? Often other people’s laughter can be more contagious than a scripted joke.

What do you miss most about childhood? Calling my friends’ home phone, biking to their house, and having a group of friends come together to play video games and watch movies. While we still can do this today, there’s something special about putting in the work before the internet and cell phones.

If you could have one super power, what would it be? Teleportation.

What’s the most important thing you learned in school? Experiences, people, and challenges can often provide the greatest learning opportunities. Focus on giving yourself the opportunity to go beyond the school work to take full advantage of what school can offer.

What grounds you when the world around you is spinning? A good Excel spreadsheet. Sometimes when I’m anxious, I look at my budget for the year. As silly as it sounds, it reminds me what I may have control over, where I can make decisions, and helps me make a plan for the future.

What’s your favourite day of the week and why? Sundays, to enjoy a weekly family dinner tradition.

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