Today is November 20th. It is International Children’s Day, which is well-known. Less well known is the fact that it is also Trans Day of Remembrance.
Last Thursday, I went to a Professional Development workshop on Safer and Inclusive Schools, regarding the LGBTQ community in our education system.
It was a fascinating day, led by an incredibly well-spoken guy from the Canada Humans Rights Trust organization Egale. This facilitator, as a gay man who is also black, had a unique perspective on otherness and marginalization. We, as teachers and administrators in both elementary and secondary schools, learned a lot, discussed a lot, and asked all the questions we had time for. Many new thoughts were provoked, for all of us.
Although LGBTQ rights and equity have come a long way in Canada in recent years, there is still a long way to go, especially regarding transgender and transsexual individuals, and gender non-conformism overall.
Our facilitator agreed, it’s a very complex topic to talk about, and unfortunately I’m not able to elaborate in this post on all the discussion we had.
For now, just try to imagine what it would feel like to know you were in the wrong body. Not just to feel different from the people around you, but to know that the gender you had been assigned since birth was not yours.
People in this situation are often forced to hide their true selves, because they don’t have safe environments to be who they are. And even those who are able to live in a manner consistent with their personal gender identity often end up dealing with discrimination and violence. Lives are lost every year in the trans community because of this.
If you’d like to learn more about issues facing transgender and transsexual people, please take a look at this list of Must-Read Trans Blogs at bilerico.com. I am also looking forward to reading the books that were recommended to us:
Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirsten Cronn-Mills
For today, I’m going to try to figure out a way to at least introduce this topic with my Grade 5-6 class – enough that, just in case any of my students might be fundamentally different from how I am seeing them, they’ll know there’s someone at school they can talk to.
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