picGraduation, 2018

Brenda Hattie was born in Halifax and spent most of her childhood in the Annapolis Valley. In 1973, her family moved to Pictou County, where Brenda completed her schooling. She attended Kings College and Universite Ste-Anne, graduating with a BA in French in 1981. In her early 20's, Brenda's spiritual questions led her to a small, conservative religious institution and before long, she was hired as an administrative assistant. A decade later, feeling "pot bound" and restless, she went back to university, taking courses in psychology and sociology at St. F.X. Exposure to fresh ideas, and especially Brenda's discovery of feminist theology, led her to question many of her religious beliefs, especially those related to sexual orientation. These doubts came to a head in 1998 when one of her friendships morphed into a sexual relationship. The relationship and her shifting beliefs put her at odds with her employer, and she made the decision to resign her position and leave her religious community.

In the fall of 2000, in efforts to re-orient her life, Brenda moved to Halifax and went back to school, enrolling in a Masters in Women's Studies, with a focus on women in the Christian tradition. During that year she also began the process of coming out to others. In the fall of 2001, the day after "9/11" - Brenda successfully defended her thesis, and began to lay the foundations for a new career.

Over the next four years, while establishing her career, Brenda volunteered in the queer community, first as a director for NSRAP, and then as a director for Safe Harbour MCC, winning an award for her service to the LGBTQ community in 2005.

In 2004, she landed her first teaching contract at MountSaintVincentUniversity. She has been part-time faculty at the Mount ever since, teaching mainly for the Department of Women's Studies, but has also taught in the departments of Philosophy/ Religious Studies and Family Studies and Gerontology. She has also taught courses focused on gender at AcadiaUniversity and DalhousieUniversity.

In 2005, Brenda began working on the World Health Organization's Age-Friendly Communities Project for Dr. Janice Keefe of the Nova Scotia Centre on Aging and was continuously employed there as a researcher until 2013. In the meantime, in 2006, Brenda earned a diploma in Adult Education from Dalhousie University.

In 2012, she was hired as a Research Assistant on project at Dalhousie that explored the health care experiences of queer women. Though not focused on spirituality, the research nonetheless revealed some interesting information about spirituality and health in the queer community; Brenda and project colleague, Brenda Beagan (Dalhousie), published an article based upon this information, and Brenda H. also presented their paper at international conference held in Vancouver in February, 2012. Wanting to explore their topic further, "the Brendas" launched another project in 2013 that specifically focused on sexuality, identity and spirituality in the queer community. They presented their findings to a packed audience at a TimeOut? Lecture held in Halifax during PrideFestival (July) of 2013. In 2014, they are working on journal articles related to their research and planning to present their findings in Halifax at an event scheduled during Pink Triangle Week in February.

In 2013, Brenda began a PhD in Philosophy of Educational Studies, which she completed in the fall of 2018. Her most recent activism includes advocacy for the banning of conversion therapy in Nova Scotia; the ban came into effect in 2018 (See CBC article here). In 2021-2022, working with a committee of dedicated faculty members, Dr. Hattie spearheaded the development of a Minor in Queer Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University; as of 2022, it is the only one of its kind in Canada. She continues to be hired on part-time contracts. Dr. Hattie is currently chair of the Eastern Shore Pride Committee.