GSAs and Student Well-Being

I fully support LGBTQ2S+ students in our schools and I am proud to run as a Trustee for Edmonton Public School Board, where students are not “outed” if they disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity.  I have been hearing from parents and community members at the doors that this issue is important to them. This issue is also important to me.

I have had the honour to work with individuals in the process of disclosing their sexual orientation and gender identity to loved ones, and while this process is usually met with love and support by family and friends, there is a very real risk that young people can be left without supports among their close circle. This can be devastating for someone at a particularly vulnerable time, and due to misguided opinions about sexual orientation and gender identity, young people who are not accepted can face dangers to their well-being, such as depression and homelessness.

I believe that public schools should be a safe space for every student and staff member, a place that is accepting and inclusive of their sexual orientation, gender identity, cultural background or religion. Safe and caring schools allow students to grow and thrive, so that they can focus on learning.

Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) are peer-support networks for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit students and allies and they are vital to help create an atmosphere of safety and acceptance. GSAs truly save lives and I am so thankful that they exist as an option for students.

As a parent, I am deeply invested in my children’s education. I believe in parent choice in education and I also believe in GSAs. It is my hope that the Edmonton Public School Board will re-confirm the commitment of the board to maintain safe and caring schools.