UBC gift creates Canada’s largest fund for the study of human sexuality: Lesbian literary icon Jane Rule remembered

The University of British Columbia has received $1.7 million from an anonymous donor to create Canada�s largest university endowment fund for the study of human relationships and sexuality.

The gift was made in the name of Jane Rule, the late pioneering Canadian author and former UBC educator who contributed to two major social and cultural revolutions: the decriminalization of homosexuality and the rise of Canadian literature on the world stage.

�Jane Rule played an immense role in shaping dialogue in Canada and internationally around gay rights and the celebration of differences,� says Nancy Gallini, Dean of UBC�s Faculty of Arts. �This generous gift will build on her legacy and support the most vibrant and emerging interdisciplinary scholarship in the field.�

The Jane Rule Endowment for the Study of Human Relationships will support programs related to the study of sexual orientation, race and gender, including new initiatives to foster positive dialogue among UBC students on topics of identity and empower future generations of teachers with the skills to guide these discussions. The endowment will also provide support for UBC�s Critical Studies in Sexuality program, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) student groups, conferences and visiting lectures.

Editors: The first event supported by the endowment is Queerly Canadian: Changing Narratives, a conference at UBC�s Vancouver campus, June 5-6. The public is invited to explore with experts and international authors the impact of Rule�s work and life � she passed away in 2007 � on Canadian society, art, law and politics and to view her archives, which reside at UBC.

The conference will also cover a variety of topics related to human relationships and queer culture, including innovations in anti-homophobia education; discussions of homosexuality in sport, military and pop culture and presentations by lesbian seniors and gay youth.

View the conference program at: queerlycanadian.wordpress.com

Born in Plainfield, New Jersey, Rule came to Vancouver in 1956, becoming a Canadian citizen. She taught English and Creative Writing at UBC for nearly 15 years and was the first assistant director of the UBC International House, a campus community centre.

Beginning with her first novel � The Desert of the Heart (1964), later adapted into a successful film � Rule was one of the first female writers of her generation to publicly acknowledge homosexuality and same-sex culture in her work. She was a frequent media commentator and testified in support of Vancouver�s Little Sister�s Book and Art Emporium in its landmark legal case against Canadian Customs.

The author of 12 books received numerous awards, including the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia, Canadian Authors� Association Award for Best Novel and the Benson and Hedges Award for Best Short Stories.

Editors: Download print-quality photos of Jane Rule at: http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/download/


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