Andres Musta – Chair, Gandatsetiagon PS.
Local GSA meetings will be held as needed this year, with no fixed schedule. Please contact us at any time if you want to meet. Otherwise, we encourage members to attend the Durham PFLAG Sharing meetings, held on the last Thursday of each month from 7 to 9 pm, at 55 Bond St E, Oshawa. If you are in need of support, please do not hesitate to contact Andres Musta, Mary Fowler or Lauren Chapel.
STATEMENT REGARDING DURHAM PRIDE: Whereas Pride marches are fundamentally about creating safer spaces for LGBTQ+ people, Durham ETFO has decided to not participate in the 2018 event due to the traumatic impact that the presence of police uniforms has on some of the most marginalized & vulnerable members of our community, and we feel that allied public service providers, like educators and police, have an important leadership role in ensuring Pride spaces are welcoming to all. Due to the decision of Pride Durham to include uniformed police in the parade, knowing that it will make Pride less welcoming to some of our LGBTQ+ community members, we will not be participating. While we have no problem with police marching in the parade and applaud the ongoing efforts of DRPS to be more inclusive and supportive, we feel that the presence of uniforms at this time will do more harm than good. We will continuously revisit our position in consultation with the community and look forward to the day when everyone feels included.
ON BEING OUT AT WORK:
“The decision to be out, partly out or not, or to transition at work, involves personal and professional judgement and reflection. The reaction you are likely to face very much depends on the people in your school community. Ontario laws apply equally throughout the province; as such, the expectations for conduct among people in school communities are the same throughout the province, as are the avenues for challenging discriminatory responses. Many school communities have proactively embraced the principles of respect for diversity and dignity in relation to different human rights grounds reflected in our legislation. ETFO encourages all members to work towards this goal for all communities.”
URGENT! LGBTQ people abroad are in fear for their lives and need to escape persecution. Volunteers at Sexual Minorities Uganda and the Rainbow Railroad are working to get people to safety, and need all the help they can get!
We recently presented a screening of ETFO’s new LGBTQ Inclusive SchoolPlace Starts Here Video: a ground breaking initiative that explores homophobia and transphobia in school communities and how to address these issues. The video features interviews with LGBTQ educators who discuss the challenges they face in their workplaces and classrooms. In partnership with DDSB, copies are in all schools! If you would like a personal copy, it can be ordered through shopetfo for $35 each.
The Gay/Straight Alliance of ETFO Durham is a safe forum for all educators who want to make a difference within their school community and empower others to take a stand against Homophobia, Transphobia and Transmisogyny in their schools.
Durham ETFO has a SPECTACULAR lending library with a variety of resources to help K-8 teachers discuss LGBTQ families, discrimination, and related topics with their students. Best seen in person at 603 Palace Street.
We have been working with the DDSB Positive Spaces Steering Committee to develop a 5-year inclusiveness training for all Board staff, which is now being rolled out in Elementary schools over the next 2 years.
In addition, we are part of the Durham Communities Involved Committee, which coordinates LGBTQ events across Durham Region, along with PFLAG, ACDR, DRPS, Durham Pride, Pride Line, Club 717 & other community groups.
We encourage all members to join Pride Durham (membership is only $10) and help build our annual celebration of diversity in our region.
We also support the efforts of Durham PFLAG, who operate a summer youth leadership camp for LGBTQ youth and allies, aka Camp Rainbow Phoenix. Thanks to incredible fundraising, there is no cost for the children to attend, and the camp has nearly doubled in size every year since is began in 2006. PFLAG always needs volunteers like you (ages 25+) to join the fun!
Our primary document for addressing LGBTTIQQ2SAA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, Two-Spirit, Asexual, Ally) inclusion and diversity in schools is the Ontario Ministry of Education Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy and is echoed in the DDSB Equity & Inclusive Education Policy. You can find more GSA/QSA links here, here, here and here.
We cannot overstate how important it is to coworkers, students and parents to see teachers in the streets, standing for diversity and inclusion! Visible support is a powerful lifeline to those who are struggling. Please contact Jill Aoki-Barrett (firstname.lastname@example.org) to volunteer with the ETFO booth at Toronto Pride.
The Terms of Reference for the 2017-2018 Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA) of ETFO Durham include:
- Providing a safe and inviting forum that is free from harassment and discrimination
- Sharing strategies that promote safe and welcoming spaces for all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression
- Promoting resources (books, media, policies and networks) to address LGBTQ concerns in schools
- Supporting like-minded LGBTQ community groups and organizations
- Furthering the political aims of the Local
- click here for tips on HANDLING HARRASSMENT IN THE HALLWAY IN THREE MINUTES
- click here for tips on WHAT TO SAY OR DO WHEN YOU HEAR, “THAT’S SO GAY!”
- click here for information on the DDSB LGBTQ Educators Group