In mid-November, CCGSD travelled to PEI for two back to back events in Charlottetown.
LGBTQ2+ students from schools across the island were invited to a GSA Leadership Day at the Holiday Inn in Charlottetown, PEI. Mother nature had other plans and a snow storm resulted in many schools being unable to make it due to poor weather conditions. Ten brave students did arrive and were able to participate in the activities that were planned for the morning.
CCGSD partnered with Plan International Canada who launched a three-year initiative called Youth for Gender Equality. This project seeks to engaged youth across Canada in dialogues and discussions to create a youth-led plan on achieving the UN Social Development Goal, on gender equality at the the global, national, and local level. CCGSD helped Plan International organize dialogues that would engage LGBTQ2+ youth to ensure that the perspective of sexual and gender minority youth were heard in the completion of these dialogues.
Youth who participated has dialogues focused on gender equality in their local community. Many spoke about how traditional (binary) gender roles are still quite common on PEI. Students brainstormed barriers and solutions to LGBTQ2+ discrimination faced by queer and trans youth as well as lack of inclusive LGBTQ2+ education in relation to gender equality.
The following day, we joined forces with PEI Pride to put on a LGBTQ2+ Youth event at Holland College. After some icebreakers where youth and local LGBTQ2+ organizers got to know each other, PEI Pride engaged youth in an important conversation about how Pride can be more inclusive to local youth. One youth in attendance said said that half of all Pride events should be accessible to youth, who are not able to enter bars for traditional Pride events. Following this dialogue students heard from Jeremy Dias who shared the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity signature keynote.
Students enjoyed pizza for lunch and completed a trivia challenge before reconvening for an afternoon of workshops. Students took part in our Behind the Scenes: Events and Advocacy workshop. In this workshop, students learn about advocating for a wide range of LGBTQ2+ topics and then participate in a hands on activity where they plan their own event that they could implement in their school or community. One group planned a “Self-Care Social” for trans and gender diverse folks. We were very excited when we saw that this event actually came to life in December by some folks who were in attendance. It is so lovely when we see that participants use the tools they are given to build connections and strengthen their community.
Next, the youth heard from two members of the community who are drag performers. They spoke about what drag on PEI looks like and brainstormed with youth how the drag scene on PEI can be more inclusive to youth.
The final workshop for the day was an outstanding panel on Transgender Identities. Ash Arsenault moderated the panel and spoke with 3 individuals which included Andrea MacPherson, a woman of trans experience, Alana
Daley, a parent of transgender youth. They answered a few questions from Ash about their unique experiences and advocacy and youth were able to ask them questions on how to navigate their trans identities. They were able to give youth advice on how to deal with co-workers and peers who are resistant about respecting their names and pronouns.
As always, we would like to take a moment to thank our regional partners, presenters and all the students who came together for these incredible days!
Our fall events were absolutely incredible and we cannot wait to see what January brings. First, up will be a conference at H.C Avery Middle School in Winnipeg, Manitoba this January.