Vancouver School of Theology is a community that operates on Christian values including caring and integrity in relationships. We endeavor at all times to provide a working and learning environment that is free from discrimination, supportive of spiritual and academic life, and that promotes the dignity, self-esteem and fair treatment of all members of the community. The basis of interaction at the School is one of mutual respect, cooperation and understanding, and we will not tolerate any behavior that is likely to undermine this.
|Download VST’s Anti-Harassment Policy PDF|
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Vancouver School of Theology is committed to being a safe and welcoming place for all who study and work here. As a matter of institutional policy, VST welcomes students, staff and faculty of many different sexual orientations and gender identities. At VST, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender identities are considered part of God’s colourful creation and are not considered “sinful” or in any way contrary to God’s will for human life.
As a VST student you will meet a multiplicity of people, perhaps without ever knowing about their sexual orientation or gender identity. This kind of diversity presents a remarkable opportunity for theological education and spiritual insight even when — or perhaps especially when — the diversity presents a challenge to one’s own assumptions and beliefs. That challenge makes VST a truly stimulating place to learn and grow. Our community is committed to genuine conversation and theological education about these topics.
We believe that it is God’s will that all people, whatever their identity, should be treated with respect, kindness and love. We are aware that many people come to VST from a variety of backgrounds, stories and histories. Issues of diversity and welcome are often complex and many people find them difficult to discuss. If you are concerned about how best to pose your questions, a good place to begin is to share these concerns with a trusted staff or faculty member. Many among our community have taken part in UBC’s “Positive Space” workshops, and display a sticker outside our offices to indicate our welcome and openness for discussion. A Positive Space workshop is held every 3 years on the VST campus (and more regularly through UBC) so that you, too, can become more educated.
Educate Yourself! Speaking of education, if you are new to issues of gender identity and sexual orientation (or even if you aren’t!), there are many resources which can help you explore and understand more. It is inappropriate to expect that lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender people will educate you on the issues that touch their lives most intimately, and rather your responsibility to educate yourself.
Below are a few web-links which you may find a helpful place to begin. There are also many books exploring LGBT issues, theologies, and biblical studies in the Library at VST – the librarians can help you find what you are looking for.
Gender Identity and our Faith Communities: http://www.united-church.ca/blogs/heart-justice/gender-identity-church
The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (at PSR): http://www.clgs.org/resources
Breaking Through the Binary: