Monday, 15 June 2015

PRIDE Day at City Hall

See the full story in the second last segment of the CTV Morning Show (8:46 AM)

"Good morning everyone! We are here on behalf of the GSA from Seven Stones Community School. We are the only elementary school GSA in our city, and we are very proud to be here today. We believe in being positive and accepting to all people no matter who they are or how they look.  We openly welcome people of all gender identities, gender expressions and all sexual orientations. The flag flies proudly at our school as a symbol of our acceptance.  We hope you have a great day celebrating PRIDE!" 

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Going Public with our Pride

The Seven Stones Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) is proudly going public with their message of support for gender variant and sexual minority youth.  Our group has been working hard at finding ways to be more welcoming to people of all gender identities, gender expressions and sexual orientations. Our group meets weekly to build support and allyship within our school.  We have focused on educating our school on LGBTQ and gender issues through campaigns like the below pictured “Did You Know…” campaign. We have also encouraged our school to take social action by rethinking our washrooms, sports teams and awards away from the gender binaries of boys and girls. All through June, Seven Stones will be flying the Pride flag in recognition of our support for sexual minority youth in our community.  Please follow us on Twitter @7StonesGSA

GSA flag campaign: May 11 - 29
“Over the next few days we will be making announcements every day from our school’s GSA.  Each time we share some information with you on the announcements we will remove one piece of the puzzle we have on display on the front bulletin board.  When a piece comes down it will reveal part of our school’s Pride flag. Our goal is to educate our school on gender identity and sexuality issues and to proudly display our flag as a symbol of our welcoming school.  Please help us by listening closely to our messages each day.”

Did you know…
GSAs are found in most Regina high schools. Seven Stones Community School has the only active GSA in an elementary school in Regina. This is something to celebrate! A rainbow is the symbol that is used most often as the logo for welcoming groups like GSAs, sometimes called rainbow clubs.
GSA stands for Gender and Sexuality Alliance. It is a support group to build allies for gender variant and sexual minority youth in our community. GSA’s exist all over the world and are supported by millions of people. Some GSA meet on a scheduled basis, other are run like a summer camp. The very first one in the world was founded in Red Deer Alberta.
GSAs are for everyone. You do not need to identify as LGBTQ to join. Our goal is to build allies in our school. Students in grade 6 to 8 come to our meetings to learn ways to stop bullying and discrimination and to build skills on how to be more welcoming to all diversities.
An Ally is someone who speaks out and takes action for LGBTQ people in our community. Allies believe in the dignity and respect of all people and are willing to stand up in that role. Are you an Ally?
LGBTQ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning. There are hundreds of different definitions to describe sexual orientations.  It is always best to let each person decide what description fits them best.
Our GSA promotes being yourself no matter what your identity or expression you identify with.  We believe it is positive to choose to be your own person and like whatever activities, clothes, toys, games, music you want to like. Be proud to be you!
Saying the word gay as a way to describe things or people that are negative is hurtful to many people. When you hear someone say “that’s so gay”, make sure you correct them to choose better words that don’t discriminate against people.
Thousands of species of animals have been documented as having same sex relationships. For example, a famous set of penguins in a Toronto zoo lived their whole lives together as a same sex couple. 
There are approximately 9 million people in the United States who self-identify as LGBTQ.  More than 3 million in Canada. Statistically LGBTQ people are in every country, every city and every community in the world. Approximately 1 million children in the United States are being raised by same-sex parents. 
There are many great role models for youth who identify as LGBTQ such as: Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris, Jesse Tyler Fergusson, Perez Hilton, Queen Latifa, Chris Colfer, Fergie, Lady Gaga, Clay Aiken, Frank Ocean, Michael Sam, Lindsay Lohan.
In some traditional First Nations, having same-sex attraction was called Two-Spirited. These people were honoured as being people with special gifts and as a blessing to the community.
Seven Stones is the only elementary school in Regina with Gender Neutral washrooms. Imagine if other parts of school were also gender neutral like sports teams and clubs.  Imagine if no one ever made fun of anyone for their choice of clothes, hairstyle, body shape, interests or skills.  Imagine how many more choices you could have if you were never told what to like or what to be?

“Over the past two weeks you have heard about our school’s GSA and about how to be an ally.  It is now time to move our Pride flag to our flag pole to celebrate that we are a welcoming school to all gender identities, expressions and sexual orientations. Next week you will see it flying.  We hope that you will look at it and think of how great it is to be from a school that accepts and welcomes everyone’s diversity.”

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Tips to Creating a Gender Inclusive School Environment

1)      Advertise that you are a Safe Space for all identities, expressions and orientations. 
2)      Have courageous conversations with staff, students and community to confront inequalities, offensive materials, misconceptions and meta-messages.
3)      Find ways to feed in materials and ideas to directly confront and disrupt power, heteronomativity and gender roles.
4)      Listen to and directly involve students in confronting and disrupting. Use their passion for equity to your advantage.
5)      Have courage knowing that the law, your role as an educator and advocacy for students gives you more power than you think. We have a legal obligation to respond to harassment and discrimination in our schools.
6)      Call incidences for what they are: sexism, homophobia, heteronormativity… not bullying.
7)      Consciously choose language that is non-gendered.
8)      Consciously invite students to participate in non-dominant activities.
9)      Support students every time they confront the norm, irrationally and with passion!
10)   Emphasize the need to build allies.  Everyone can be an ally for a friend. Never focus on outing anyone or making orientation an exclusive club to LGBTI students.
11)   Build community connections to other youth supports who can be your school’s ally. Reach out to leaders in the youth and young adult community. High school GSAs, URPride etc.
12)   Reflect on your own bias and how bias affects your teaching.
13)   De-gender the binary of boys vs girls in your school: Gender neutral washrooms, Gender neutral sports teams, Gender neutral resources, Gender neutral opportunities, Gender neutral rewards, Gender neutral code of conduct and dress code
14)   Focus on curriculum that builds acceptance and understanding – shift away from educating exclusively about reproductive organs, sexual practice and labeling the spectrum of sexual diversity.
15)   Begin anti-discriminatory campaigns against the use of words like gay, fag, dyke etc.
16)   Begin a Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) with the support of Division leadership, parent council, staff and students.
17)   Encourage administrators to not support ‘opting out’ for students. Education opportunities that are up to date, accurate, age appropriate and respectful are for all students.
18)   Join supportive circles #LGBTeach @GLAAD @GLSEN @huffpostgay @ItGetsBetter
19)   Advocate for inclusive curricula.
20)   Celebrate publicly (websites, assemblies, community presentations) the diversity of your student population and efforts students make to create inclusive environments.
21)   Be positive about all change.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Seven Stones GSA

Welcome students and staff to the Seven Stones Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) page! 

Pictured above is a a quilt put together by our grade 3 - 5 students in PLC 2 under the leadership of the SIAST nursing students who are completing a practicum at our school and the PLC 2 teachers.  We love your message of anti-bullying and are proud of you for your pledge against all forms of bulling and discrimination!

We are now proud to welcome GSA members from PLC 3 in grades 6 - 8 to extend this pledge to being an ally for social change and support of all sexual minorities, all gender expressions and all sexual orientations.   Please follow us as we move forward in our work!

Two-Spirit Discussion

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Rainbow Club - Wascana Community School

Introducing the Wascana Community School 

Rainbow Club (GSA)

We meet every Wednesday at noon and are a growing club of activists and allies.

Activities - drama games, talking circles, videos and research, tableau, power play theater, forum theater....

We are building towards activities for our senior students to build awareness and activism!

This week we took a look at the classic "heterosexual quiz".  See it here.  

Video - Social Experiment: What happened when a gay person and a straight person hugged?

What happened when a gay person and a straight person hugged?  Spoiler alert, no one's sexual orientation rubbed off! :)

See the Upworthy video here!

Panel presentation from Carla Blakely, Russell Walker, Mikayla Schultz and Mike White on gender identity, expression, sexual orientation, and the importance of being an ally for social change! March 2014, Wascana Community School.