This weeks students across Ontario go back to their classrooms with New Year’s resolutions and hopes for 2012. That said, for 64% of LGBTQ youth who face homophobic & transphobic bullying, and feel unsafe every day, the new year is not fun.
But 2012 has offered hope for youth who experience bullying and discrimination.
In November of last year, Minister of Education, Laurel Broten, courageously introduced Bill-13: An Act to amend the Education Act with respect to bullying and other matters.
Know as the Accepting Schools Act, this legislation if passed would do a number of things, including:
- work to prevent gender-based violence and incidents based on homophobia & transphobia,
- provide better support for students who are impacted by inappropriate behaviors and require schools to provide a safe learning environment,
- and support student led initiatives to stop all forms of bullying, discrimination, homophobia & transphobia.
For us at Jer’s Vision, the Accepting Schools Act offers real change, and supports youth initiatives in ways that we have never seen before. Almost every day, youth volunteers at Jer’s Vision engage with their peers to run initiatives to make schools and communities safer. These include projects with Gay Straight Alliances, Rainbow Alliances and Diversity Clubs; and these youth-run, school based clubs need your support.
Despite the fact that the Accepting Schools Act will make a major impact at stopping bullying, there have been very aggressive homophobic & transphobic responses by a variety of persons who do not want to support LGBTQ specific initiatives in our schools.
“This isn’t fair, youth-run LGBTQ intiatives are necessary in our schools”, said Cameron Aitken, the president of the Superior Height GSA in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. “We need to talk about LGBTQ specific issues in schools so that we can address them. In the same way we have clubs that stop racism and sexism, we need to be able to do the same as LGBTQ people—its 2012 after all!”
I would like to ask you to please support LGBTQ & straight youth in Ontario who experience homophobic & transphobic bullying on a daily basis, by signing an online letter of support for the Accepting Schools Act. Click here to show your support.
We also encourage you to forward the letter to your family, friends, and colleagues.
Please also read Minister Broten’s introduction of the Accepting Schools Act from the Legislature from November 2011 to find out more about the Act. And check out the Premier’s It Gets Better video.
Finally, consider supporting or volunteering for an LGBTQ-A charity in your community. You can also make REAL difference in our community by donating to Jer’s Vision & becoming a monthly donor—for every $1.25 we are able to go into schools and educate one student or educator about homophobic and transphobic bulling, run conferences, and make our community safer.
2012 will be a busy year at Jer’s Vision, so keep in touch with what we are up to on our blog.
Thank you for supporting youth,
new office: 440 Albert St, suite C304
Jer’s Vision: Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative
Promoting diversity and ending discrimination
The international Day of Pink (April 11, 2012)
Sign up for 2012; and make a difference!