The ATA stands in support of 2SLGBTQ+ people
Every week, a colleague whose office is down the hall from mine posts a different quote on his window. This week’s quote was “never mistake movement for progress.” This phrase stuck with me as I was watching the premier’s video detailing plans for policy around transgendered youth.
It’s a slick looking video. The lighting is great, and the visuals are appealing, as is the music that plays gingerly in the background. It is also a prime example of juxtaposition, as the content of the video is deeply concerning and will have a chilling effect on classrooms and schools, impacting our ability to provide safe, caring and inclusive spaces for all of our students.
Frankly, what we saw in Premier Smith’s video was movement, but it was not progress. It is regressive thinking that clearly violates the charter rights of students and their parents. Every person deserves to be seen for who they really are, and to be safe where they work and learn. Actively preventing this by passing policy or legislation is just plain wrong.
Transgender youth are five times more likely to think about suicide and nearly eight times more likely to attempt it than other children. It’s imperative that transgender students feel safe in our schools, and that supports such as counselling are funded and available.
Another troubling change contained in this announcement is a requirement for schools to implement an opt-in policy for the instruction of human sexuality, gender identity and sexual orientation. This requirement will fundamentally alter how schools operate — we have all experienced what it’s like to get students to return forms for things like field trips — which is why we once again highlight the need for teachers to be consulted on policy decisions.
Though I am not certain of the specific details of this policy, I am certain that the ATA stands in support of our 2SLGBTQ+ students and staff. We are here for you and care for you. Remember, it’s always darkest before the dawn. Maybe that will be the next quote on my colleague’s window. ❚