It’s not very often that presidents of the BC Teachers’ Federation join with the Minister of Education for a joint news conference, but when the government finally agreed to bring district school policies in line with the the BC Human Rights Code to protect all queer youth, it was actually a time to celebrate.
“All students, regardless of where they go to school, should be able to feel welcome and included in a safe space while being fully and completely themselves,” said Glen Hansman at the announcement. “BC teachers, students, and other community groups have long been advocating for this welcome and positive change. It means students in rural and urban school settings can be hopeful. Students, if they choose to, can come out or transition at any school in the province and know that the onus is on the school community to support them.”
— BCTF (@bctf) September 8, 2016
Hansman took the opportunity to share his own personal experiences about growing up queer.
“As a queer youth attending secondary school in Northern Ontario in the 1990s, it wasn’t safe for me to come out. There were no supports. I was not reflected in the curriculum, or in the learning materials available at my school—except maybe in a negative way. There was no clear policy telling my school that its job was to ensure that I was safe, included, and supported. I know that my experience as a student in the 90s can’t stand in for the diverse experiences of LGBTQ youth today, in particular for queer youth of colour or from immigrant communities or for trans youth. The changes being made today mean students, if they choose to, can come out or transition at any school in the province and know that the onus is on the school community to support them and protect them. That is so important.”
Read Glen’s full statement online http://bctf.ca/NewsReleases.aspx?id=43003 or watch this brief story filmed at the announcement.
The reaction on Twitter was also extremely positive for this much-needed change.
— Rich Overgaard (@RichTweets) September 8, 2016
— Robin Stevenson (@robin_stevenson) September 8, 2016
— Taran Parmar (@Tarankparmar) September 8, 2016
— Ryan Clayton (@ItsRyanClayton) September 9, 2016