Jeffrey White, Triangle Program
Jeffrey is a former Bill 7 Award Trustee and was the keynote speaker at the 2015 awards presentation. He continues to play an important role each on the team that reviews the scholarship applications. He’s involved with Supporting Our Youth (SOY) and volunteers with SOY’s Pride Prom, a prom for LGBTQ youth and their allies held each year in June.
Your most memorable Bill 7 moment?
Being the keynote speaker at the Awards Ceremony in a year that one of my former students from the Triangle Program was a recipient. It was a great moment of personal and professional joy.
Your thoughts on the role of scholarships like the Bill 7 Award?
So many LGBTQ youth have been pushed out of their homes, communities, faith groups, and peer groups after coming out. This leads them to have to endure ongoing social and economic pressures not experienced by their heterosexual, cis-gendered peers. Bill 7 may be that one economic safety net that allows them to pursue their post-secondary studies so that they will be successful contributing members of society. When I see an LGBTQ student receive a Bill 7 scholarship it makes me feel that our community is doing such great work at supporting and encouraging the success of our future generations.
Was there a special role model in your youth, the kind you’d wish for all LGBTQ+ post-secondary students?
My role model was Tara Goldstein, professor at U of T. She taught a course, when I was taking my Bachelor of Education, called "Inqueeries About Education." It was the first time that I was truly able to be my authentic self in a classroom. Her work inspired me to be the teach I am at the Triangle Program.
Your special message to potential Bill 7 Award donors:
When you donate to Bill 7 Trust you are remembering that past me almost didn't make it to post-secondary because I dropped out of high school because of homophobia, that I was fortunate enough to be able to push and struggle my way through university, and that my donation will hopefully mean our current generation of LGBTQ youth will not to have to struggle so darn much!
Books you’d recommend to LGBTQ+ youth?
Brent Hartinger's Geography Club or Kirstin Cronn-Mills Beautiful Music for Ugly Children.
Do you have any favourite LGBTQ influencers you’d recommend?
Ben O'Reilly @ForesterBF
Brett Simpson @BrettJSimpson
Jeff Parshley @JeffParshley
Is there one piece of advice you’d give to LGBTQ post-secondary youth?
Timing and preparation ...work hard, play hard, get lots of sleep.