We see you
To the Editor,
On Saturday the Ontario PC Party voted to advance a policy motion suggesting that gender identity, gender expression, and transgender rights were somehow political ideology, and that any discussion of such should be removed from Ontario schools and the curriculum. As local educators, we must express our dismay with the PC party’s attempt to politicize its own transphobia. Transgendered persons are real. They exist. They exist in our communities, and they exist in our schools. For educators, they are our students. They are not theories, they are not ideologies, and they deserve to be treated respectfully and as the diverse individuals they are.
Educators watch the statistics play themselves out in our schools everyday: three in four trans students have been targets of mockery or bullying.bOne in five have been physically or sexually assaulted because of their gender identity/expression. Nearly half of transgender teens have attempted suicide, a shocking statistic that drops to less than five per cent when they get support from family members.
Since 2014 the Ontario Human Rights Code has prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender identity or gender expression. To our trans students I say we see you. We stand in solidarity with you, and we demand that our local MPP Laurie Scott, Minister of Education Lisa Thompson, and Premier of Ontario Doug Ford disavow and denounce this hateful policy and that they work with partners in the education sector to ensure that all students receive the safe and caring public education to which they are entitled.
Colin Matthew, President OSSTF District 15 for local public high school teachers