TORONTO: A statement was issued today by a coalition of LGBTQ and LGBTQ-serving organizations in response to the ‘Institute for Canadian Values’ advertising campaign. The campaign ran a full-page ad in the National Post Wednesday claiming that educating children about human rights and specifically LGBTQ human rights equates to ‘corrupting children’.
The statement read as follows:
Ontario’s parents, students, LGBTQ people and all of its citizens deserve to know where each party stands on the position advanced in recent advertising by the Institute for Canadian Values.
As a coalition of LGBTQ-serving organizations, we know all too well the impact of discrimination and hatred on the lives of LGBT people and especially our children and youth. Egale’s National Climate Survey on Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in Canadian Schools reported that nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ students feel unsafe at school, 20% of LGBTQ students report being physically harassed or assaulted in their schools, almost three-quarters (74%) of trans youth have been verbally harassed about their gender expression and more than a third (37%) have been physically harassed or assaulted about their gender. It is imperative that age-appropriate diversity and human rights education be provided in our publicly-funded schools.
Human rights are not negotiable. Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Ontario’s Human Rights Code are clear that discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation is prohibited. Canada’s constitutional protections for our diverse communities must be taught in schools.
We call on each of the party leaders to denounce the ‘Institute for Canadian Values’ campaign and to stand in support of human rights in this provincial election.
“It is hard to understand why any group would see discussing gender stereotypes in traditional fairy tales as offensive or threatening,” stated Jennifer Fodden, Executive Director of the Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line. “Children have little difficulty understanding concepts about equity and respect for difference. We must ensure that all of the kids in our schools are engaged with curriculum that reflects their families, their communities and themselves.”
“Our schools have a responsibility to create safe learning environments for our children,” stated Helen Kennedy, Executive Director of Egale. “One of the most basic ways they create safe spaces is by educating young people on the constitutionally-enshrined human rights of LGBT people, by sending the clear message that discrimination against LGBTQ people is against the law.”
For more information or interviews, contact:
Helen Kennedy, Egale
Jennifer Fodden, Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line
416-962-2232 x224, firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Cutler, The 519
Egale Canada is Canada’s LGBT human rights organization: advancing equality, diversity, education, and justice.
The Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line was founded in 1994, and is contacted by almost 7,000 youth each year. Youth Line exists to provide service for youth, by youth that affirms the experiences and aspirations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, 2-spirited, queer and questioning youth in Ontario. Working within an anti-oppression framework, we provide leadership opportunities, outreach, confidential peer support and referrals by telephone and online.
The 519 Church Street Community Centre is a Board of Management of The City of Toronto, founded in 1975. The 519 is a meeting place and focal point for its diverse downtown communities. Within a supportive environment, it responds to the needs of the local neighbourhood and the broader LGBT communities by supplying resources and opportunities to foster self-determination, civic engagement and community participation.