Based on a structural engagement with the intersections of diverse gender and sexual identities, The Landing strives to support discussions and facilitated spaces that share knowledge and engage in collaborative learning around issues of race, gender, (dis)ability, spirituality, ethnicity, indigeneity and more in relation to gender and sexuality. In this context, and in all contexts we inhabit, we respectfully recognize that The Landing is located in Amiskwacîwaskahîkan (Edmonton), which is part of Treaty 6 and the traditional territory of Métis and First Nations people, such as the Cree, Saulteaux, Blackfoot, and Nakota Sioux.
The University of Alberta itself is located on Papaschase Cree territory which was unlawfully surrendered through Treaty 6, which the Papaschase Band is still fighting to this day. We wish to honour this land and thank the Indigenous people who welcome us here today while recognizing and respecting the ongoing political struggles that are part of the complex realities of a settler colonial state. This is especially relevant to the topics that The Landing focuses on, given the history of violence towards and erasure of Indigenous Two-Spirit people through colonization. Early colonizers intentionally targeted Indigenous people that they perceived as being gender non-conforming (by virtue of appearance, gender roles within their Nation, sexuality, etc) and used violence in an attempt to eradicate what was viewed as deviant behaviour. This is the legacy of homophobia and transphobia on this continent, which is still rampant today and has had a devastating impact on Indigenous communities, including Two-Spirit and queer Indigenous people.
We use this acknowledgment as a reminder to always engage in a critical and compassionate lens by recognizing the ongoing impacts of colonialism that are inherent to every aspect of mainstream western society.
The idea of a space such as The Landing developed gradually, with student leaders engaging in dialogue around the concept beginning in 2012, or possibly even earlier. These students identified a need to establish a physical space at the University of Alberta that would provide education and support services related to sexual and gender diversity. Such a space would be a dedicated physical centre on campus that would provide consent education, mental health related resources, and support referral services to students, while offering education and awareness to all, including students, staff, faculty, and the broader Edmonton community.
The Landing in its current form emerged through the sustained advocacy efforts of a core group of students, including student leaders Linh Lu and Nicholas Diaz. Through dialogue with Lu and Diaz in 2013, the U of A Students' Union recognized that they could play a key role in the start-up creation of a dedicated student space for gender and sexual diversity. The Students’ Union has since provided an office, student lounge area, and seed funding for the service.
Launched officially in the 2014-15 academic year, The Landing operates programming based on a drop-in space and peer-run student support model. This model is important for the sake of visibility and accessibility to all students on campus. Being in a highly visible and centralized location, The Landing reduces barriers for students accessing both informal and formal support networks through volunteer opportunities, the drop-in location, peer mentorship programming, and referrals to mental health services on and off campus. Having a dedicated student space for gender and sexually diverse communities contributes to feelings of inclusion and acceptance for all members of our U of A campuses, enriching our learning and social environments.
The Landing works collaboratively with other organizations focused on gender and sexuality, such as the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS), OUTreach queer student social group, APIRG Feminists at the U of A, Project FU, and more. The Landing’s contributions as a dedicated student space help to fulfill the need for comprehensive and holistic services that meet the institutional, academic, social, and support needs of students with diverse genders and sexual identities.
In October, 2018, at the Landing AGM, students were given the option to vote on whether or not the Landing should approach the Students' Union to absorb the service under their student services department. The AGM vote passed and the Students' Council also approved the request to absorb the service, so now the Landing works closely with the other SU services such as InfoLink, Sustain SU, the Peer Support Centre, and SafeWalk.
Starting September 6th, 2022:
Monday to Thursday
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm in person and online via discord
0-68A Lower Level
Students' Union Building
University of Alberta
8900 - 114 Street NW