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Taking Action

Anti-Homophobia Education in Schools

Below are some possibilities for taking action in your local to advocate for change at the school board, within district committees or at the union or school level on LGBTQ issues. Most importantly, gather allies and work together with like-minded individuals in your local or zone.  Sometimes, regional actions are effective for small locals in rural areas of the province.

  • Inform yourself of policies passed by the BCTF in support of LGBTQ students, staff and
    anti-homophobia education. Consult the BCTF website (Member’s Guide pages 145 to 147)
  • Have your local executive or SJ committee write letters to your school board requesting updates on their compliance with a specific BCTF or Ministry of Education policy.
  • Work with students who are concerned about homophobia and transphobia in schools to prepare a presentation to the local school trustees.
  • Build coalitions and partnerships with local organizations to lobby school trustees for policy change. Go to www.bctf.ca/SocialJustice.aspx?id=17994 to see progressive anti-homophobia policies in other districts.
  • Formally request that your school trustees publically endorse and support the formation of Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs in local high schools.
  • Check school board policies and lobby for changes to Code of Conduct policies to specifically protect students from harassment based upon their “real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity”. Make sure this clause or something similar to it is in the revised policy.
  • Document incidents of homophobic harassment and graffiti at the school level and request action from administration and school board officials.
  • Address homophobic comments when you hear them made in your classes or hallways and encourage your colleagues to do the same. Congratulate staff who actively promote anti-homophobia and try to build safe places. For some suggestions on how to deal with homophobic comments, please see our resources section and go to “How to Handle Harassment in the Hallways in Three Minutes.”
  • As often as possible, include LGBTQ references and examples in your lesson plans. Use videos and books in your class that include references to LGBTQ people and families.
  • Encourage students to create art instillations or work on projects which send positive messages about LGBTQ realities within schools. (i.e. Pink Day)
  • Check out the BCTF website for information about the National Day Against Homophobia
    (May 17) for ideas about what you can do in your local.
  • Publicize LBGTQ positive days or events in your union newsletter or with local news media.
    (Via your local executive and SJ committee)
  • Work with students at a local high school to participate in the National Day of Silence.
    (see BCTF website for details)
  • Ask SJ reps in all schools to download the “That’s So Gay!” classroom poster or others from the BCTF website and post them in all schools within your district.
  • Book a BCTF Social Justice workshop on LGBTQ issues for your school, district PD day or regional conference to raise awareness and help members develop teaching skills in this area.
  • Apply to the BCTF for funding to host a regional conference for a number of locals in your zone on LGBTQ issues in Education. Contact tpatrick@bctf.ca for details.
  • Encourage teacher librarians in your district to buy books which positively portray the lives and realities of LGBTQ people for school libraries.
  • Work with supportive teachers, parents, teacher librarians, community groups in your district to donate LGBTQ positive books to elem. and sec. school libraries.
    (Check out the BCTF or Pride Education Network website www.pridenet.ca for an annotated bibliography of recommended books from Kindergarten to Grade 12)
  • Invite “Out in Schools” to show LGBTQ positive films in local high schools.
    Log onto www.outinschools.com for details on how to book screenings and preview films.
  • Avoid being derailed by the extreme right...check the BCTF webpage for
    “Objections to Anti-homophobia Curriculum in Schools” and be prepared with responses to potential concerns in advance.

NOTE: You may want to send some of these ideas to supportive Social Justice reps in your local.  Begin to create a local or regional LGBTQ lobbying network which can work together on one or two of these items for the coming school year. 

All resources on LGBTQ issues can be found at the following URL:

www.bctf.ca/SocialJustice.aspx?id=6106 

or log onto the “Social Justice” icon on the BCTF home page and click on the “Issues” icon  to find resources on homophobia and heterosexism

For ongoing support on LGBTQ issues contact one of the Committee for Action on Social Justice (CASJ) members who are part of the LGBTQ Action Group at the BCTF.

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