First of all, I’m sorry — the title isn’t clickbait.
A group of conservative adults have once again decided that the safety and survival of LGBTQ kids is less important than an adult’s right to impose their views on other people.
After a proposal by the party’s leader, the honourable Jason Kenney, members of Alberta’s United Conservative Party have officially adopted the policy of having schools inform parents and guardians when their children join Gay-Straight Alliances, or GSAs.
Gay-Straight Alliances, also known as Gender-Sexuality Alliances, are student-led organizations operating in middle schools and high schools whose purpose is to provide a safe and supportive space for LGBTQ youth, as well as cisgender heterosexual allies of the queer community.
Studies show that these spaces are incredibly powerful in reducing bullying and discrimination towards queer youth, and vastly reduce the odds of suicidal thoughts and behaviour. This is crucial, as LGBTQ youth are substantially more likely to have suicidal thoughts, be victims of suicide, and be victims of bullying and discrimination when compared to their peers.
Queer people are tired of having to justify their existence in public spaces, and the need for GSAs is entirely self-evident. People who don’t believe so at this point are deliberately and willfully ignorant.
Jason Kenney and his UCP would have teachers and administrative staff be required by law to out children who join GSAs, regardless of the very real and active dangers that that can entail in far too many households still today. Their policy would overturn a Notley-government bill, Bill 24, that forbade teachers from doing so.
Jason Kenney has a long and terrible history with LGBTQ acceptance, going back to the late 80s in San Francisco during the height of the AIDS crisis. This history however is not what this article is about. People can and do change, and the increasing acceptance rates of LGBTQ people in Western countries is evidence of this fact. What we as members and allies of the queer community care about are his actions NOW. Unfortunately, his current actions are also not good enough — not even close.
Queer people of all backgrounds have the right to come out to who they want, when they want to do so. It is nobody else’s decision but theirs. Period. End of Sentence. The UCP would do well to figure that out before their rash and irresponsible policy decisions cost the safety and survival of LGBTQ kids.