Many positive steps have been taken to strengthen the rights and freedoms of the LGBTQ2 community in Saskatchewan in the last number of years, but much more can be done. NDP Diversity, Equality and Human Rights critic David Forbes notes that one important step would be to support Saskatchewan youth by providing legislation to enshrine Gender and Sexual diversity Alliances (GSAs).
“Now, more than ever, is the time for everyone – whether you’re a legislator, someone who identifies within the LGBTQ2 community or as an ally – to come together and find concrete solutions that will help ensure the end to the discrimination and violence that still occur on a daily basis,” said Forbes.
Forbes said it is long past time for legislation to be passed that will give every student in the province the right to form a GSA in their school.
“This is a simple step, but it’s a powerful one,” Forbes said. “We know there are gay students throughout the province who are afraid to come out or are afraid to ask their teachers for help in starting a GSA. With this legislated right, we can work to end that fear.”
Forbes added that studies have shown that rates of discrimination, suicidal thoughts and suicidal attempts have dropped in schools that have had a GSA established for three or more years.
Both Manitoba and Alberta have legislation that makes it mandatory for schools to accommodate a student’s request to start a GSA.