Gay-straight alliance supporters rally outside McDougall Centre
A group of more than one hundred people congregated in downtown Calgary to voice their support for gay-straight alliances (GSA) and Bill 24, the bill designed to strengthen legislation to ensure students are protected.
Participants in the ‘Rally to Support GSAs’ applauded the proposed legislation that would protect students from being outed without their permission and making it illegal for a school to inform the parents or legal guardians of GSA members.
Members of the Skipping Stone Foundation, the organizers of the rally, say they are pushing for safe and inclusive spaces in schools where students can receive support from their peers.
“Dealing with youth in our organization and their families, they really, really struggle to find spaces where they can be themselves, they can feel safe and they feel comfortable exploring and talking,” said Amelia Newbert of the Skipping Stone Foundation. “Those spaces are so far and few in between.”
“Bill 24 sort of creates and lays the groundwork to ensure that there are spaces in all of the schools.”
Ace Peace, a Grade 12 student, says GSAs can have a powerful impact throughout the school community.
“It’s important to have that in our school,” said Peace. “(A place) where kids can go when they do need support and it’s important for other kids to see that that aren’t necessarily part of the GSA. It creates a very safe environment within our high school.”
Peace says the Bill 24 progress is encouraging. “It’s really exciting to see that our government is trying their best to do what they can to support us.”
The Bill still needs to pass a third reading.
With files from CTV’s Ina Sidhu