Thames Valley students take action to end homophobia
Monday, April 2, 2012 – About 150 student leaders across Thames Valley are coming out to the sixth annual Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Conference tomorrow to help make discrimination based on sexual orientation a thing of the past.
The goal of the conference is to empower students to create an action plan they can implement at their school.
Toni Wilson, Safe Schools Learning Coordinator, says that the conference grows each year because of the increasing number of students dedicated to the cause.
“We started with very few GSA’s and now most of our schools have them,” says Wilson. “Our gay students are becoming more confident as a result.”
Wilson says the conference will build the students’ confidence and sense of community by bringing GSA’s from many schools together to discuss concerns and ideas with representatives from community groups – including police, Pride Western and Parents Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) – and to hear keynote speakers discuss their own experiences.
Robert Klein, a high school English teacher in Kitchener, will discuss the “coming out narrative.” His theory is that people – and gay people in particular – are coming out all the time, choosing what to reveal about ourselves, how, when and to whom. Klein’s message focuses on the importance of building relationships to a positive coming out experience.
Students will also hear from Bradley Sensabaugh, an advocate in the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community. As a transgendered individual and a professional who is “out,” Sensabaugh offers the reassuring message: “It Gets Better!”
What: Gay Straight Alliance Conference
Where: Thames Room, Education Centre, London
When: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Tuesday, April 3, 2012
For more information:
Susan Dale, Learning Coordinator – Safe Schools