As part of our Social Issues Discussion Series, we invited Tonya Callaghan, assistant professor at the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education, to speak at the February session. She spoke about her research on sexual and gender minorities in schools.
Homophobia in Schools
In her research, Tonya found that some students resisted institutionalized homophobia. An example of this is Ontario student Leanne Iskander. The activism of Iskander and other students and citizens led to victories in Ontario such as Bill 13 (the Accepting School Act). This bill mandates that students may choose to use the term “gay-straight alliance” to describe their support groups, a term some school boards did not previously allow.
In addition to sharing her research, Tonya taught us an approach that people experiencing oppression can use called “theatre of the oppressed,” a method based on the work of Augusto Boal. Using scenarios Tonya wrote based on experiences she heard about in her research, participants enacted the roles of Oppressor and Oppressed. Without needing drama experience, participants practiced difficult conversations in a safe environment. Tonya emphasized this powerful approach can be used to resist any type of oppression anywhere in the community.
What can you do to support LGBTQ youth in Alberta?
- Check out ca.
- Explore The Calgary Sexual Health Centre, which has been providing services and supports for the LGBTQ communities for decades.
- Check out Safe Schools Alberta.
- Explore the Calgary Sexual Health Centre, which has been providing services and supports for the LGBTQ communities for decades.
- Visit Understanding the Guidelines to get information about the Alberta Government’s “Guidelines for Best Practices: Creating Learning Environments that Respect Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Gender Expressions.” These guidelines will make a difference for LGBTQ students and their school community.