On February 22, President Trump revoked President Obama’s policy that protected the civil rights of transgender public school students to use the washroom that matches their gender identity in their schools. This irresponsible use of power to perpetuate violence and injustice towards trans and gender variant youth is abhorrent and we condemn it unreservedly. Basic human dignity is non-negotiable.
We at Out on Screen understand the importance of inclusive classrooms and schools to allow young people the freedom to be themselves so they can focus on learning, exploring, and growing. Knowledge and education is about liberation.
As we have learned in B.C. from watching trans youth such as Tru Wilson and Harriette Cunningham leading the charge, our communities will fight injustice and progress will be won. In the United States, Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old trans boy, will have his case heard before the Supreme Court of the United States on March 28 and the outcome will determine legal rights and protections for all trans people there. There is a lot a stake and we need to #standwithGavin. Read more about Gavin’s story and how you can support here.
While the news from the United States is disheartening, there’s a lot of work we need to do here at home, too. Last summer, thanks to tireless efforts of trans activists, community members and allies, the B.C. Human Rights Code now includes “gender identity or expression” as protected grounds against discrimination. However, at the federal level, gender identity and gender expression are not currently included as protected grounds under the Canadian Human Rights Act. Bill C-16 is supposed to change that but it is currently being delayed passage in the Senate. Learn how you can support Bill C-16 here.
Out On Screen will continue to deliver its Out in Schools programming to youth and educators across B.C. so that youth today and future generations will benefit from learning environments where queer, trans, and two-spirit identities are not only recognized and included but embraced for their beauty and brilliance.
Brandon Yan is Out in School's education director.