ALBERTA

Albertans Are Sharing How 'Life-Saving' Gay-Straight Alliances Helped Them

Bill 24 would ensure no child in a GSA gets outed to their parents.

11/09/2017 12:23 EST | Updated 11/09/2017 12:23 EST
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As Alberta's politicians debate a bill to ensure students who join gay-straight alliances at school aren't outed to their parents, people are taking to Twitter to show their support for alliances and express outrage that anyone would oppose such "life-saving" legislation.

Alberta Education Minister David Eggen tabled Bill 24: An Act To Support Gay-Straight Alliances Nov. 2. The bill would require that all publicly-funded schools in the province have a clear policy allowing gay-straight alliances (GSAs), ensure that principals help create GSAs "in a timely manner" if students want one, and protect the privacy of anyone who joins such a club, according to the government's announcement.

"Our top priority is for all schools across Alberta to be safe and welcoming for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression," Eggen said in a statement.

The United Conservative Party opposed the proposed legislation, with leader Jason Kenney saying the party supports GSAs, but it should be up to teachers to determine whether parents should be informed that their child joined one.

"Parents have a right to know what's going on with their kids in the schools unless the parents are abusive," Kenney told a Postmedia editorial board.

That sentiment didn't sit well with GSA supporters, teachers, parents, and members of the LGBTQ community. Canadian indie pop band (and Albertans) Tegan and Sara have even chimed in.

There are currently 37 gay-straight alliances listed in the Alberta GSA Network, a collective of resources specific to Alberta kindergarten to Grade 12 students, teachers, and school staff, according to their website.

A handful of rallies to support GSAs are scheduled to take place Nov. 12, including one in Calgary and one in Lethbridge.

If Bill 24 is passed, the amendments would come into force by April 1, 2018.

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