While LGBTQ youth face many of the same pressures and confusions that most adolescents face in coming to terms with their transitioning bodies and academic and social stresses, they often must do so while negotiating a mammoth part of their identity.
Many questions can arise, including, how can I deal with this, how can I help make it better and where do I even start?
A good starting point is MyGSA.ca, the national LGBTQ safer schools and inclusive education website. It is the first and only national resource dedicated to helping LGBTQ youth.
It was developed to help create safer and more inclusive schools through the elimination of homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia, and the integration of LGBTQ matters.
The “GSA” part of the web address stands for Gay-Straight Alliance and refers to a student-led group or club where LGBTQ youth, youth with LGBTQ family members, and their allies can meet to tackle tough issues like discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
MyGSA.ca is a virtual place for all Canadians to come together to share experiences, stories, struggles and triumphs. The site is the hub of the Safe Schools Campaign by the LGBTQ human rights charity, the Egale Canada Human Rights Trust.
On the site, you’ll find a variety of information and resources that you can use or pass along to the youth and educators in your life.
There are simple and informative postcards as well as comprehensive resource guides and step-by-step instructions to setting up a GSA at your local school. You’ll also find examples of the many schools in Canada where students and educators alike are hard at work to make it better for all of us.
Indeed, since its launch just one year ago, 150 GSAs from every province in the country have registered on the site, each one viewable on the online GSA directory.
Take a look and see if your local school has a GSA — if not, why not?