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.”

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