Diane Mitchell

Though Canada is one of the most progressive and accepting countries in terms of LGBTQ rights and individuals, heteronormativity is still very prevalent in our society. Many people are raised to believe that you are either a boy or a girl and that we should spend our lives fitting into the definition of the gender you are assigned at birth. But that is simply untrue. There are so many different genders, sexual orientations and identities that an individual may identify with and educating students on these topic early on allows them to make an educated evaluation about how they see themselves, how they want others to perceive them and how they will live their lives.

The recent changes the Ontario government has made to the sexual education curriculum will have vast negative impacts on the learning opportunities of students that are not only important but necessary. In retracting the updated 2015 sex-ed curriculum and implanting a new interim elementary health education curriculum that mirrors the 1998 version is greatly concerning. They will be preventing teachers from teaching proper scientific terminology such as “penis” and “vagina”, taking the opportunity for students to learn about LGBTQ issues, gender identity and expression all together and completely removing any discussion around the concept of consent and consenting in sexual encounters. These changes are going to have negative effects on not only individual students but our society in my opinion. It is such a step backwards in terms of both proper education and LGBTQ rights in this country.

Overall, I hope that parents are able to see what the schools are lacking and be able to take it upon themselves to educate both themselves and their children on LGBTQ issues and topics. This is why, now more than ever resources need to be made available for parents and children both within the school, to what extent is allowed with the new curriculum, and outside of the school to ensure children are properly educated and able to make safe and healthy choices regarding their identity.

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"Success comes from building on and encouraging a child’s strengths, not taking them for granted. ​"

— Margaret Stevens​ on giftedness (2008)