International Anti-Homophobia Day

17 May

Today marks the international day for the elimination of homophobia.

Fittingly, Egale Canada launched their new website today that is a national resource for setting up/supporting Gay-Straight Alliances in high schools. www.MyGSA.ca.  Very exciting!

A few notables for the morning’s proceedings: 

The new Minister of Education, Leona Dombrowsky was one of the speakers. 
The Ministry of Education has been really supportive of this project, which is amazing. 
Minister Dombrowsky’s message was about supporting students. Bill 157 extends responsibility to all school staff (not just teachers) to be aware of, report, and address bullying of all kinds, including homophobic and transphobic bullying. 

While this is excellent, a few things stand out about the minister’s speech this morning:

I am struck by the way we are still targeting the bullying and not the homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia that allows this type of bullying to exist in the first place.  When are we going to stop skimming the surface and call it like it is?

It’s not acceptable for the Minister of Education to not know the LGBTQ acronym – especially when asked to speak at the launch of www.MyGSA.ca.  Again, we need to go deeper than bullying, to the fabric of what our education system is teaching – overtly and covertly.

And the minster also spoke about tolerance.
Really? Are we really still talking about tolerance in 2010?  Although Brian Burke (GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs) did say it well when he said he’d “take tolerance” as a step forward, we have to reach beyond this. This is not about tolerance. It’s about acceptance. Acceptance of different ways of being. Period.

Let’s start wrapping our heads around that as we look at the roots of bullying, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in our schools in order to work for a better future for our LGBTTQQI2SA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Two-Spirited, Allies) communities across the country and the world.

Congratulations to Egale Canada for launching a fabulous resource to help get us there.

Annemarie Shrouder
Thought Provoker

© Copyright  Annemarie Shrouder 2010

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