Do you support parental notification if a child attends a Gay Straight Alliance?

A:

No. I wrote about why "outing" students who join GSAs is dangerous and contributes to youth homelessness and worse in detail here: www.michaeljanz.ca/gsa. I urge you to sign the petition in support.

I have voted consistently in support of vulnerable students over the past seven years as your trustee.

The genesis of this question was that students asked us "Will we be "outed"? (their words) and these fears are as real as the 40%+ of homeless youth who are queer and kicked out of their homes.  For some these are very real safety and security issues where they sadly do not have a supportive home because of homophobia.

Here are some remarks public speakers shared at our September 12th Board Meeting:

Clare said: - "Easy to reaffirm this today. Students need to know where the board stands as we enter the school year."

Shelagh said - “Particularly at this moment in time. Important to send a message to all students in alberta."

Alisa, (Aged 14!):  "Parents have a right to know what’s going on in their children’s lives, but Kids deserve a place to live” (about her friends facing homelessness if outed). 

The stories were very moving and I encourage you to watch them (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqspHJYz1Fk&feature=youtu.be - full video skip to 30:00)

I hope that if my child had any issue that I have created a safe home for them to come and share with me, but sometimes talking to peers is easier. 

I know that the majority of parents are very caring, but the youth homeless numbers of LGBTQ youth tell us that some still aren’t, and in order to protect all students, It’s better to let students share in their own time. They are afraid, facing violence, and need reassurance about their human rights and dignity as individuals. Some have even expressed fear of being sent for “conversion therapy” — a practice that is illegal in Manitoba and Ontario.

Sadly Homophobia is still very present in our community. If a motion had been brought forward the same way writing a letter to condemn religious discrimination, I would have voted to immediately write a letter as well. I hope one day that this changes and it is just as easy for children to tell their parents they are gay as if they have became a Christian. But in the meantime, that’s up to them to decide when and how they disclose.

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