- Vancouver Queer Film Festival
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February 6, 2024
On January 31, 2024, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith proposed policies that severely reduce protections and restrict healthcare access for trans and gender-diverse youth. These proposed policies target and endanger some of the most vulnerable youth in our community.
Young people deserve to be affirmed in their identities, especially if they face challenges of feeling different from their peers. For queer and trans youth, an affirming and supportive environment looks like:
The proposed policies in Alberta roll back essential protections and freedoms for queer and trans youth, making schools less safe and inclusive.
Many youth, regardless of gender identity, prefer to be called a name different from the one on their birth certificate. It is both common and normal for trans and queer people to change their pronouns to accurately reflect their identity. Using the correct name and pronouns for somebody is a basic way to show respect. For transgender youth, it is a proven way to improve their mental wellbeing.
The Albertan government plans to make it harder for trans and gender-diverse youth to gain this basic level of respect and more difficult for teachers and administrators to support some of their most at-risk students. Everyone deserves the basic respect and dignity of being referred to by their correct name and pronouns.
Schools prepare students for “the real world”, including how to interact with people who are different from us. For some 2SLGTBQIA+ youth, schools are the only place they are safe to explore who they are and see positive representation of who they could become.
The proposed policies will significantly restrict inclusive education about the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). This will make schools less safe for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth.
As a community, we support opportunities for young people to learn about diverse identities and experiences and gain understanding and empathy for their peers.
Sports are an important part of physical and mental health, social connection, and learning skills like teamwork, leadership, and resilience. Research consistently shows that gender assigned at birth does not equate to a competitive advantage in sports. Denying trans youth the basic freedom to participate in sports is unfair and discriminatory.
Premier Smith is perpetuating harmful myths and proposing policies that discriminate against, segregate, and exclude trans people. Our government and school systems should support fair policies that include everybody in sports and recreation.
Access to healthcare is a basic human right. Gender-affirming healthcare is safe, well-researched and widely supported by major healthcare bodies, including Canadian Psychological Association and the Canadian Pediatric Society.
Premier Smith’s new policies go directly against the advice of healthcare professionals. Denying trans people access to healthcare on the basis of gender is medical discrimination. Trans youth deserve access to the gender-affirming healthcare they need to support their development and overall happiness.
To trans and queer youth: We love you. We see you. We support you. We will fight for you.
To parents, educators, policy-makers, and community members: We urge you to educate yourself on what genuine care and support looks like for transgender and gender-diverse youth. These youth are the future of our communities, it is imperative for us to advocate for policies that protect and care for them.
Out In Schools has been on the forefront of SOGI education and bringing positive, age-appropriate film, education, and dialogue about 2SLGBTQIA+ experiences into schools across BC since 2004.
Programs like Out In Schools are now banned or severely limited in provinces across Canada.
Support our work and keep SOGI education in BC by donating now. We also urge you to contact your elected officials to voice your support for SOGI education and gender-affirming healthcare for youth in your province.