March 12, 2024

No matter our background or what part of the country we live in – we all want to ensure a Canada where every single young person can grow up feeling safe and respected at school – including 2SLGBTQI students. But the recent actions by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools are taking that safety and respect away. 

The discriminatory directive that would require teachers to out 2SLGBTQI students, remove Pride materials, and force teachers to only refer to students by their legal names rather than their preferred names, will threaten the safety, wellbeing and mental health of young people in their schools. Egale Canada’s national report, Still in Every Class in Every School, found that students who attend Catholic school are already two times more likely to report experiencing verbal harassment based on their perceived sexual orientation than students who don’t attend Catholic school. This reality is in addition to the undeniable rise in anti-2SLGBTQI hate that we are seeing across Canada, making it an especially difficult time for 2SLGBTQI young people who are seeing their very existence being attacked by adults who are supposed to protect and support them. 

These new directives from Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools echo the recent proposed policies by Alberta Premier Danielle Smith – which we know from countless voices of those impacted as well as expert opinion –  will harm some of the most vulnerable young people. But while we know the Premier’s proposed policies will cause irreparable harm, they have not yet been enacted into legislation. There is no reason for Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools to make these deeply concerning changes. 

This is why we are calling on Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools to walk back their discriminatory directive, and instead take action to ensure that we are creating safe and inclusive schools for all students, including 2SLGBTQI students.
In this time of rising anti-2SLGBTQI hate, it’s more important than ever that teachers be supported in creating inclusive classrooms for 2SLGBTQI students and those with 2SLGBTQI family members. As one young person who was surveyed for Still in Every Class in Every School said, “I had a handful of teachers who were very supportive and receptive to our frustrations as LGBTQ students. I want them to know how appreciated they are. They saved my life.”

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Representatives from Egale Canada are available for further comment on this matter. To schedule an interview please email:

Egale Canada has launched the Rainbow Action Hub – a one-stop shop for the why and how to combat the rise of anti-2SLGBTQI hate in Canada. The hub includes resources, tools, education, and information aimed at 2SLGBTQI organizations, advocates and activists.