A. Grace Martin

Author, Student Teacher, Optimist and Promoter of Self-Empowerment

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Sexuality, Differences, and Finding LGBT Support in Alberta

Posted by agracemartin on February 11, 2015 at 7:30 PM

Today in my Social Context Education class we had a group present on homosexuality in Alberta. Our conservative province with its ex-pastor Gordon Dirks as minister for education passed Bill 10, saying "the bill was designed to ensure that children would get GSAs if they desired them." Yet Bill 10 allows school boards to reject student requests for gay-straight alliances (GSAs). How exactly does this protect our children? 


This topic made me think about the welfare of our students. No person should be made to feel unsafe in our educational system. The Alberta Teacher's Association Code of Professional Conduct explicitly states that in relation to pupils, "the teacher teaches in a manner that respects the dignity and rights of all persons without prejudice as to race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical characteristics, disability, marital status, family status, age, ancestry, place of origin, place of residence, socioeconomic background or linguistic background." But bill 10 allows us to discriminate against gay-straight alliances and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) students based upon parent disapproval?


Okay, Alberta, I grew up in a conservative rural town, too, in which we weren't exposed to a lot of differences. The movie Brokeback Mountain was met with a lot of disdain, and arguments of "get that out of my face" were common. I, too, was ignorant of the importance of gay rights because I did not have enough expose to the topic. Sorry MLAs, but you can't use ignorance as an excuse. I did my research and so can you. No one should stand behind legislation that marginalizes students. Welcome to the 21st century, where people have finally woken up to the fact that homosexuals are normal human beings who deserve the same rights as anyone else.


The student presentation in my Social Context class made me want to watch the entire short film that was referenced. I came home and viewed: Imagine A World Where Being "Gay" The Norm & Being "Straight" Would Be The Minority! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnOJgDW0gPI). This short film describes a young, straight girl who is bullied because of her heterosexuality--which she cannot help.


Well, I just love how YouTube puts similar videos on the sidebar, because it led me to several others! A couple of minutes on BuzzFeed's If Straight People Had to Come Out (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkFewRm_YC4) satirical representation had me nodding. Then I watched the short film "Boy," about a transexual youth feeling caught in the wrong body.


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I watched a few others on YouTube but the next one worth noting was another short film called "What Have We Done" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stqswTez1bw). It was a good recap of the past few classes in Social Context, referring to homosexuality, bullying, and suicide. I recommend it for an eye-opening watch and don't worry: there is a happy ending.


So what did I learn today? As it turns out, I'm quite passionate about standing up for my students--no matter how different from the norm they are. Not bad for a small town conservatively-raised country bumpkin, but this isn't exactly news. What I learned today was that (to my disgust) the government actually passed Bill 10. Albertan MLAs, I'd like to see you stand up for LGBT kids and teachers, too. 



Categories: Teaching Blog

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