The death of Ottawa teenager Jamie Hubley, who killed himself in October after being bullied for being gay, is a sad reminder that the battle against homophobia continues. Université du Québec à Montréal recently created a research chair on homophobia to be held by Line Chamberland, a professor in the department of sexology at UQAM.
The chair, created through a five-year $475,000 grant from the Quebec government, will allow the sexology department to bring together experts on the subject of homophobia and develop tools to intervene and prevent the behaviour, says Dr. Chamberland. The money will also be used to study the physical and mental health of those who are bullied and the effects their exclusion from society has on their health and psyche, she says.
Premier Jean Charest, who was at the announcement, says it’s the first research chair in Canada devoted to the subject of homophobia. In May 2011, the Quebec government unveiled a five-year plan to combat prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The Ontario government also unveiled new anti-bullying legislation in November in the wake of Jamie Hubley’s death.