COVID-19 restrictions have forced many LGBT2Q+ students to return home to continue their education online, locking them down with unsupportive families.
With in-person classes cancelled, dorms shuttered and jobs lost, Canada witnessed a mass migration of postsecondary students moving back in with their parents through the pandemic. For many grown children and their families, the unexpected cohabitation was claustrophobic, occasionally tense.
But going home has been more a troubling experience for some students than others. When schools closed abruptly in March, some LGBTQ youth were forced to move back in with unaccepting and homophobic relatives. Fearful for their safety, some have been going back into the closet, according to new Canadian research.
After a disapproving mother tried to stop him, a BC teen has been given the green light by the courts to go ahead with gender-affirming surgery.
A teenager in B.C. is free to move forward with his gender-affirming chest reconstruction surgery after a Supreme Court justice tossed his mother’s attempt to stop the procedure, finding she made “egregious misstatements” while fighting an issue that’s already been settled in court.
Lawyers for the teenager, who turns 18 this spring, said he was “relieved” to hear the justice had ruled in his favour.
“Our client is hopeful he can get on with his life … and get back to being a teenager,” read an emailed statement from lawyers Adrienne Smith and Claire Hunter on Monday.
After being violently assaulted by two girls in middle school, the community came out en masse in support of the transgender teen.
On Sunday, the line of cars, trucks, motorcycles and even horses stretched for kilometres as thousands of people showed their support for the victim while taking a stand against transphobia and bullying.
“We just can’t believe how many messages we’ve received from people just saying, ‘We’re behind you,’” said the victim’s mother, who CTV News is not identifying. “And to know that they’re supporting our child as well is amazing.”
Released in 2018 by Arsenal Pulp Press, Jonny Appleseed comes to Canada Reads with a considerable set of laurels already attached to it. It won the Lambda Literary Award, the Amazon Canada First Novel Award and the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction. It was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. It was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. And now it will compete on CBC’s annual battle of the books, with actor and filmmaker Devery Jacobs championing it on the show.
The images of a schoolyard beating on January 11, 2021, of a transgender teen student outside of École Heritage Park Middle School, sit in stark contrast to pictures of the Mission School District’s SOGI 123 Salish Weaving project gifting a rainbow blanket “to value our relationship with Indigenous and LGBTQ communities by way of a Stó:lō Honouring Ceremony”.
All sixty school districts in British Columbia participate in SOGI 123, now in its fourth year of being incorporated into education practices across the province. SOGI is the acronym for sexual orientation and gender identity. SOGI 123 provides teaching aids and guidance for educators and parents to create more inclusive and safe schools for students who identify as LGBTQ2S+.
The initial reaction by Superintendent Angus Wilson, while calling the attack “hideous and horrendous”, was to blame it on COVID. This unfortunate statement was quickly walked back by the board of trustees promising their policies will be reviewed. Given this attack and reports that it is not an isolated incident with other LGBTQS+ students at the school reporting similar bullying, a review is seriously past due. These incidents of bullying also point out the futility of anti-bullying policies as a means of prevention. This was one of the reasons for the establishment of SOGI 123.
Several right-wing political activists created a flurry of campaigns to oppose the implementation of SOGI 123 in 2018 claiming it was an ideology. They began showing up to protest at school district meetings and one of the most outspoken opponents Laura Lynn Thompson even ran for a Burnaby School District position on a platform of SOGI 123 opposition which she lost. Since then SOGI 123 has scarcely been in the news.
This incident of bullying and victimization of a transgender teen in a school setting calls for SOGI 123 to be back in focus. How are schools, school boards, and parents failing those who face prejudice, bias, and hate when they have the tools and resources at their disposal for prevention? Are schools and boards participating in SOGI 123 simply to be seen as being compliant? It’s time for an audit.