Photo: Pat Sutphin Associated Press
Implemented for several years in the United States and in the English provinces, these support groups offer a safe space for LGBTQ youth in middle school.
Already well established in other canadian provinces, the concept of alliance the gay-heterosexual (GSA) is little known in Quebec. This is expected to change over the next few months, as the body Spaced (formerly named Gay Listening) will supervise the establishment of such committees in the institutions of high school and collegiate levels who will make the request as early as next January.
Named AGIS — Alliances gender, identity and sexuality, these school groups aim to provide a safe space and free from discrimination to LGBTQ youth in middle school.
Composed of students LGBTQ and their “allies”, heterosexual, same as demembres staff, these groups allow young people to confide in, to discuss their reality and advocate for the respect of their rights.
The schools are not always open to the project, sometimes the parents are reluctant
Pascal Vaillancourt, director of the body Spaced
“We are in the infancy stage,” says the director of Spaced, Pascal Vaillancourt, who has learned through The assignment on Friday that his agency will receive a grant of $ 40,000 from the ministry of the Family, in the framework of its action plan against bullying of 2017. This amount will support the activities of AGIS, ” said Mr. Vaillancourt.
Line spacing is currently working to refine its documentation to the attention of the students and teachers in order to equip the institutions who want to establish AGIS. “The schools are not always open to the project, sometimes the parents are reluctant, citing the example of Mr. Vaillancourt. It is therefore important that we are there to accompany the implementation of the committees. “
The next step will be to make the promotion of the ACT. This must be done as early as the month of January.
According to Mr. Vaillancourt, ” the needs are urgent “. In fact, homophobia in middle school is problematic, as demonstrated by the results of a survey, pan-canadian organization Egale Canada.
According to this survey of more than 3,700 students, the harassment in all its forms (verbal, physical, sexual) is part of the reality school students based on sexual orientation. Furthermore, 70 % of all students, including heterosexual, say they hear the expression “that’s gay” on a daily basis so that the terms “homo” and “dyke” will make the ears of nearly half of them.
Result : nearly two-thirds of these young people do not feel safe at school.
It has been observed by to be Equal to that fewer incidents of nature homophobe or transphobe arise in schools where gay-straight alliance are established. Students LGBTQ of these schools also say they feel more confident and more encouraged by their management.
A successful example
School Shoreline, in Terrebonne, finds that the positive impacts from the formation of a committee on sexual diversity within its walls last year.
Several activities have been put in place by this group, consisting of members of the school staff and students. All have the same goal : to raise awareness in all individuals which circulate in the corridors of the establishment.
In particular, the committee organized a training that was given to you by the Coalition of LGBT families to the entire staff of the school. The youth have also launched a competition for a slogan for sexual diversity, developed a booth of awareness and proposed the holding of debates on the issues LGBTQ in their auditorium. “They are brimming with ideas,” says the psycho-educator Manon Cloutier, who oversees their activities.
According to her, the impact the more concrete of this initiative is evident in the language used by the students. Since the establishment of the committee, more students are correct when they use a vocabulary homophobic hurtful. “Often, young people are not aware of the weight of their words “, she says.
Laws elsewhere in the country
The AGH are established in several schools in the other canadian provinces for a few years. In Alberta and Ontario, laws have even been adopted to support their implementation. These require, in particular, schools that receive government funding to enable the creation of such committees when students make the request.
Not later than the last week, Alberta has strengthened its support for gay-straight alliance by adopting a law that requires the institutions to respect the confidentiality of students members of these alliances.
Quebec plans to legislate on the implementation of the ACT in the schools of the province ? The ministry of Education had not been able to answer this question the Duty at the time of writing these lines.