McGill University offers Canada’s first “Lavender Graduation Ceremony”
McGill University became the first postsecondary institution in Canada to honour LGBTQ+ graduates with their own “Lavender Graduation Ceremony” in the spring of 2018.
Drop-out rates for the LGBTQ+ community are higher, in part because these students are more frequently subject to sexual harassment and assault than other students. The ceremony, then, is meant to underscore the additional challenges they overcame to complete their studies.
The university also wants to send a welcoming message to LGBTQ+ students living in other countries. Around the world, 72 countries condemn homosexuality and 9 punish it with death. Given that nearly 30 percent of its students are international, the university wants sexually diverse students to know they are welcome at McGill.