Coalition of community groups urge Ottawa voters to protect trans youth on October 24th
October 19 2022
As a collective of feminist, youth-focused, and 2SLGBTQI+ serving and affirming organizations, we condemn in the strongest terms possible the transphobic rhetoric being used by Ottawa school board trustee candidates. If enacted, these policies would make schools less safe and inclusive for transgender, nonbinary, Two-Spirit, and gender nonconforming students. On the anniversary of Ottawa’s successful counter-protest against anti-trans activist Chris Elston at Nepean High School, we urge Ottawa voters to ensure the 8 candidates named below are not elected to school board trustee positions.
Through their impact on budgets and policies, school board trustees have direct impacts on the day-to-day experiences of students. There are vocal anti-trans activists running for office in both the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) and the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) who, if elected, have declared their support for policies that would seriously impede the ability of trans students to learn effectively within Ottawa’s schools.
While there are many important races to pay attention to during this municipal election, it is crucial that this anti-trans rhetoric is not ignored. Based on a review of their platforms and social media accounts, as well as endorsements from explicitly anti-2SLGBTQ+ groups like the Campaign Life Coalition, we have identified the following candidates as the most likely to endanger the rights and safety of trans students if elected.
If you care about the needs of transgender, nonbinary, Two-Spirit, and gender non-conforming youth in Ottawa, do not vote for any of these candidates.
Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB)
- Zone 2: Ashley Darling
- Zone 4: Rasha Alnaqeeb
- Zone 6: Shannon Boschy
- Zone 8: Chanel Pfahl
- Zone 11: Maher Jebara
Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB)
- Zone 3: Paul Safi
- Zone 6: Glen Armstrong
- Zone 7: Danny Arrais
Note: due to a lack of capacity and knowledge, we are unable to make recommendations for Ottawa’s French school boards.
Our city has come together before to defend the safety of transgender students. On October 19 2021 – one year ago today – hundreds of Ottawa residents came together to shut down Chris Elston’s protest at Nepean High School, affirming their support for trans youth in the process.
Voters looking to learn more about candidates for school board trusteeships, including alternatives to those mentioned above, may read endorsements developed by community groups like Horizon Ottawa and the Rideau Students’ Union. We also encourage you to join us on October 23 at 6PM for a Twitter Space to discuss tangible actions you can take to counter anti-trans activism at the school board level, hosted by the Asilu Collective (@asilucollective).
With the election just days away, we call on Ottawa’s voters to reject transphobia and bigotry at the ballot box. On October 24th, use your voice to elect school board trustees who will move our schools forward, not drag them backward.
Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD)
The Enchanté Network
Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW)
Planned Parenthood Ottawa
Rainbow Ottawa Student Experience (ROSE Ottawa)
Rideau Students’ Union