No, transgender students are not just making up their gender to get away with something.
It might seem obvious to some, but the fear is one many parents have raised in response to guidelines introduced by the province of Alberta intended to support LGBTQ youth at school.
“A common question that we hear from parents is they fear the guidelines will give permission to any boy, for example, to declare they are a girl one day and use the girls’ washroom,” Calgary Sexual Health Centre (CSHC) president Pam Krause said in a press release Friday.
The CSHC launched Understanding the Guidelines on Friday, an online resource designed to help parents, students and educators better understand the province's new guidelines, as well as dissect some of the myths and misconceptions around the document.
Questions about transgender students' rights at school, among others, are tackled in the site's FAQ. The site also hosts videos and stories further that further delve into the guidelines and elaborate on why its important to have rules in place for the protection of LGBTQ students.
"It's not this radical thing that some people are making it out to be."
“Our aim is that this website will help Albertans, particularly parents, school staff, government representatives, to find respectful answers for their questions. We also hope that LGBTQ youth feel our support and know they are entitled to — and deserve — the same safety and belonging that many of their fellow students take for granted," Krause said.
One thing the site hopes to make clear is that the guidelines are just formalizing what many schools already have in place.
"This work is already in progress, so it's not this radical thing that some people are making it out to be," Calgary teacher Chris L’marca said in a video produced for the CSHC website.
The province's guidelines, which were introduced in early January, offer suggestions for school boards in drafting policies to help LGBTQ students feel safe and supported at school. Topics covered in the document include "maintaining school records in a way that respects privacy" and "providing safe access to washrooms" for transgender students.
The guidelines have faced criticism from a prominent Calgary bishop, as well as some members of the Edmonton Catholic School District.
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