Ontario Education and LGBT Youth

Shout out to all Ontario teachers and administrators, as well as the Ontario Ministry of Education:  there is no such thing as Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) people in the Ontario curriculum. They are absent from literature (unless they present as tragic or abhorrent figures), they aren’t discussed in history or social sciences, they simply aren’t there. LGBT doesn’t exist. Zero. Nada.

Of course you know that’s ridiculous. Excluding LGBT orientation in health and wellness, sexual education and the general curriculum is to ostracize, discriminate and tolerate bullying against LGBTs. That’s a no-no.  In fact it eradicates the effect of anti-bullying campaigns: all that effort and money for nothing.  Schools have to include LGBT experience into curriculum including novels, texts, videos, gay clubs, anti-bullying campaigns, etc.  This doesn’t mean schools are promoting or encouraging homosexual or lesbian behaviour (heaven forbid…quick get grandma her smelling salts).  It means educators won’t be obligated to treat people like a disease because of their orientation and lifestyle.

Here’s a little non-exclusive (irony) vocabulary list educators and the Ministry might wish to consider when writing and teaching curriculum (pay attention now, there will be a test on this later):

LGBT  –  Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender
Transgender – a person who is born physically as one sex but identifies psychologically and sexually with the opposite sex.
Coming out” – revealing one’s sexual orientation.
Closeted” – an LGBT who has not “come out.”
Heterosexism – one that the Ontario Ministry will recognize: the belief that heterosexuality is superior to all other sexual orientation.
Heterosexual Privilege: The legal and social advantages enjoyed by heteros but not necessarily homos.
Homophobia – one that many educators (alas) will relate to: a fear of or hatred for homosexuals.
Queer – another term for LGBT.
Ally – something every LGBT and hetero should aspire to be: a friend and advocate of the LGBT community, including all legal and social rights enjoyed by heteros….and freedom from coercion.
Advocate – something all hetero and homo educators should become: a person who educates, works to end intolerance, and supports LGBT rights. As a heterosexual educator, I include myself proudly in this category.   I also took the pledge on It Gets Better. Check out my latest youtube advocacy video:
It gets better – LGBT anti-bullying movement. 

Need reasons to include LGBT people in Ontario curriculum? Educators focus stoically on;

  • academic achievement
  • parent-school relationships
  • safe, supportive schools
  • school-community partnerships.

Let’s compare these goals with the following facts.

  1. 1/3 of teens report being bullied because they are/perceived to be LGBT. Safe, supportive schools anyone?
  2. 90% of all LGBT students are physically/sexually assaulted during a given school year. Ditto..btw, the Ontario Safe Schools Act is a legal mandate.
  3. 16% of students skip classes due to fear of bullying/assault. Academic achievement is pretty low on the priority list when a kid fears for her or his well-being I should think.
  4. 28% of LGBT students drop out of SS due to physical and verbal abuse. Once again, so much for academic success.
  5. LGBT students are at greater risk of academic failure.
  6. 50% of all LGBT students are rejected by their parents. Parent-school relationships won’t happen without familial and school acceptance of LGBT youth.
  7. 26% of LGBT students are forced to leave home due to conflicts over their sexual orientation. Communities lose:  homeless youth live in poverty, rely upon the welfare system turn to crime for survival, drug use and prostitution increases and youth who could have contributed to the community are denied that opportunity…and so is the community.
  8. 40% of homeless youth are LGBT. See # 7.

Educators love stats. They love surveys. They love raw data. Here it is: Safe Schools for Every Child.

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