Aaron Devor, Chair in Transgender Studies at UVic, during CAUT meetings in Ottawa in November 2017, which included presentation of the CAUT Equity Award.                                Photo submitted

Aaron Devor, Chair in Transgender Studies at UVic, during CAUT meetings in Ottawa in November 2017, which included presentation of the CAUT Equity Award. Photo submitted

At one year mark, UVic Transgender Studies chair says there’s always more to do

National body honours Dr. Aaron Devor with equity award

Few academics find themselves at the centre of the modern inclusivity discussion as Aaron Devor has.

Devor, a Saanich resident, is now a year into his post as chair of Transgender Studies at the University of Victoria and was recently honoured by the Canadian Association of University Teachers as the 2017 winner of the Equity Award in Ottawa last week.

It’s the latest piece of recognition for UVic’s Transgender Studies and Devor’s Transgender Archives, a small step in bringing equity to the campus and community. The Transgender Studies position works with activists to explore issues in the lives of trans and gender nonconforming people such as health care, poverty, discrimination and suicide.

“It’s a good start,” Devor said. “UVic is a leader in the transgender area, and in dealing with issues around inclusion, but it hasn’t solved everything, I don’t know of anywhere you could say that.”

Inclusivity is one of those areas where you can never say “We’re done now,” Devor said.

“No one will ever attain total equity for all members of society.’”

Devor’s main project over the years has been the Transgender Archives, which has been based out of UVic Libraries since 2011. It has enough physical literature, some of it dating back 100 years, to line the length of football field with banker boxes.

Last year, UVic and Devor announced the launched of the Transgender Studies in UVic’s Faculty of Social Sciences on a $1 million U.S. donation by the Tawani Foundation (founded by retired Lieut. Col. Jennifer N. Pritzker of the US Army). It’s enough to fund Devor plus a full time staff member and part time employees for five years, while also funding a variety of projects and initiatives, locally and globally.

Being chair has freed Devor up from teaching to do research and create more services and support for transgender people while bringing a higher profile for transgender issues, he said.

The Transgender Archives are the largest collection of original documents by activists and researchers in the world, from 18 countries and in 10 languages. Because the archives are so large only a portion are online, it draws academics and historians from across the globe to UVic.

Devor himself was on the Healthy Saanich LGBTQ subcommitee (which acted for 2016 and left several recommendations with staff) created by Coun. Colin Plant and is currently in a consulting role with the City of Victoria regarding inclusivity. Devor is also consulting with B.C. Corrections about better accommodating transgender inmates.

In March, Transgender Studies will host Moving Trans History Forward conference at UVic. From January to March, UVic’s Legacy Gallery at 630 Yates St. will host Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects: The University of Victoria Transgender Archives meets the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art (MOTHA). Devor will speak at the show launch, Saturday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m.

It is the third iteration in a multi-exhibition, multi-venue project organized by guest curator Chris E. Vargas.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students from SD62 stepped up to help members in the community with the annual 10,000 Tonight food drive. This year’s organizers had to adapt during the campaign as COIVD-19 public health orders changed. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore students step up to make sure community members don’t go without

Students of SD62 are this year’s recipient of the Youth Volunteer Award

A cat died in this house fire in Sidney afternoon. The fire started on the house’s deck and spread from that point. Sidney Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brett Mikkelsen said the permanent presence of crews at the Community Safety Building prevented worse damage. (Photo courtesy of Clayton Firth)
Sidney house fire kills cat, causes extensive damage

Official says fire started on deck and damage to the house could have been worse

Millstream Village is welcoming a new Marshalls location March 9. (Photo courtesy GWL Realty Advisors)
New Marshalls store in Langford brings boost to women in need

Retailer will hold opening ceremony in Millstream Village March 9

Abstract Developments is donating $75,000 to support community programming at The Cridge Centre for the Family. (Courtesy of The Cridge Centre)
Victoria developer builds support for community programs

Abstract Developments donates $75,000 to The Cridge Centre for the Family

SD 62 (Sooke) has announced a COVID-19 exposure at David Cameron Elementary in Colwood. Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Black Press Media File).
COVID-19 exposure at Colwood’s David Cameron Elementary

Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24.

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read