PSAC-Prairies has written Premier Notley to congratulate her and her government on passing legislation to support Gay-Straight Alliances in Alberta schools. (Text below; the letter is also attached).
Premier Rachel Notley
RE: Congratulations on the passing of Bill 24
We are writing today to congratulate you and your government on the passing of Bill 24: An Act to Support Gay-Straight Alliances. With this legislation, some of the most vulnerable students in Alberta will now be protected in law.
The positive impact of Gay-Straight Alliances and other similar student organizations is clear. Bill 24 ensures that students can have access to peer support when they need it the most, and that every single school in Alberta that receives public dollars must have a policy that clearly allows students to form a gay-straight alliance. Because these policies will be made public by school authorities, there will transparency and accountability to the students and communities they serve. It is vital that students know that their right to access the support they need is not subject to the whims of any one institution or individual. No one can be outed for their participation in a GSA or QSA.
Unfortunately, this legislation has been subject to mis-informed and sometimes malicious opposition. While the majority of public discussion has been respectful and democratic, some public figures have chosen to use this legislation to further marginalize the LGBT community and promote fear.
By recognizing the benefits of these student organizations, including the very real potential to save lives, the Government of Alberta has placed itself on the right side of history.
INFORMATION ON GSA'S:
According to the Alberta GSA Network, a GSA is:
GSA* is a general acronym used for any student-run and teacher-supported school-based club that works to create welcoming, caring, respectful and safe spaces for students of diverse genders and sexual orientations (LGBTQ2S+) and their allies in schools. Essentially, GSAs are designed to provide a safe space that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging. The purpose of a GSA is for students to meet, do fun activities, socialize and support one another in a way that is inclusive of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions, and many other interests.
*GSA began as an acronym meaning “Gay-Straight-Alliance” but now GSA is meant to encompass many club names such as Queer-Straight-Allliance (QSA), Gender & Sexual Orientation Alliance, Pride Clubs, Rainbow Alliances, and many others.