We’re reaching youth across the province, and it’s having a huge impact!

Today, Pink Shirt Day, is a day for standing up against bullying in BC schools. Out in Schools’ supporters have long known the benefits of this program and its effectiveness in combating bullying, homophobia, and transphobia in BC schools, which is why we’re excited to share that a recent study has definitively demonstrated our ability to be a force of good in schools.

A recent study by the Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre (SARAVYC) found that Out In Schools presentations reduce the chances of students being bullied or discriminated against by up to half! The impact of sharing LGBT2Q+ film and stories is palpable in schools across BC. SARAVYC researched the impact of Out In Schools presentations in schools covered by the BC Adolescent Health Survey between 2004 and 2014. Their research found that following even a single Out In Schools presentation girls were less likely to experience discrimination and the odds of boys being bullied was reduced by nearly half. The chance of being bullied at school was reduced for all students with each repeated school visit by Out In Schools. The research also highlights that all sexual identities, genders, or other identities experience the impact of anti-bullying unequally.

Striding forward, together

Thanks to you, Out in Schools has reached more than 100,000 youth since we started visiting high schools in 2004. You’ve brought queer film and discussion to 49 of BC’s 60 school districts in that time and, together, we’re on track to reach them all by the end of 2019!

We have a strong ally in our work going forward. TD Bank Group has generously entered into a new three-year funding agreement with us, doubling their previous commitment with a new grant aimed at supporting Out In Schools’ growth into the province’s rural communities. As part of TD’s investment, Out In Schools will also create a new position that will develop curriculum elements that focus on Indigenous and two-spirit identities and give presentations across the province.

Pink Shirt Day reminds us that bullying, homophobia, and transphobia are still present in our schools. But today also reminds us that together, we can create a society where all gender and sexual diversity thrives.

TD Bank Group has been a proud supporter of Out In Schools since 2009 and has contributed more than $161,000 to help the organization promote safer and more diverse learning environments free from homophobia, transphobia and bullying. TD has long been a strong supporter of the LGBTQ community and has always had a particular focus on youth and education.

More than a decade ago, TD decided it wanted to be more visible in the communities it served and put its LGBTQ commitment at the forefront. In 2009, Grant Minish, then the new Co-Chair of TD’s LGBTA Diversity Leadership Council, met with Out On Screen’s board of directors to find opportunities for the two organizations to work more closely. Since then, the relationship has flourished. TD has supported a number of Out In Schools’ programs, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and youth educations programs. Specifically, TD supported youth programs that provided safe learning, living and work environments in schools.

TD’s partnership with Out In Schools has been highly successful and both organizations have found new and exciting ways to work together to engage customers, donors and community stakeholders across the region to also support the Out In Schools mandate.