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Teachers are actively working to make it better for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth in BC schools. The newest initiative is a short video encouraging students to offer feedback on ways to make the school system more responsive to their needs and accepting of their lived realities. 

“For more than a decade the BCTF has been a leader on antihomophobia and transphobia education,” said BCTF President Susan Lambert. “This work has been challenging, but we believe that when teachers stand up for students and for social justice we are truly making a difference.”

The latest video is the second in a series produced by the BCTF to send a message to students that they do not need to wait until they graduate from high school before they can thrive in school and in society. Teachers are committed to helping "Making It Better" for LGBTQ youth in schools right now.

It is just one more element in a comprehensive strategy that teachers are using to address homophobia and transphobia in schools. The BCTF has developed a number of lesson plans, handbooks, workshops, and resources in collaboration with the Pride Education Network. They all aim to support LGBTQ youth and their families, in particular, to help students achieve their full academic and social potential.

The International Day Against Homophobia is celebrated annually on May 17. The BCTF encourages teachers to raise awareness and take action on homophobia and transphobia at any time throughout the week of May 16–20.

“It is an ideal time to reflect upon our successes in the public school system and to challenge ourselves to do more to eradicate discrimination and make schools safer for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Lambert said. “The greatest source of bullying in schools is homophobia and students need to feel safe in order to learn.”

Currently, 12 school boards in BC have adopted discrete antihomophobia policies, but teachers would like to see every school district show leadership through policy development and implementation.

“Every school should be taking positive action on this critical issue,” Lambert added. “The International Day Against Homophobia is a reminder that, although much has been achieved, there is still much more to be done within schools and society at large.”

Please visit the BCTF website to view the "Making It Better"video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqXkeVKmzoI 

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For more information, contact Nancy Knickerbocker, BCTF media relations officer, at 604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959 (cell).

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