Love is All You Need?

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small-heart HOW WOULD YOU LIVE IF YOU COULDN’T LOVE?  small-heart

scach“Teen bulling and teen suicide based on someone’s sexual preference is ridiculous – and this film turns the tables on modern society. What IF the shoe was on the other foot?. ” –K.Rocco Shields (Creator/Director)

Love is All You Need?, small-heart based on the sensational viral short of the same name, tackles the topics of tolerance and bullying with a twist: in rainbowthis movie, gay is straight, straight is gay, and heterophobia is prevalent.

 We’re honored to announce that in its first festival, Love is All You Need? small-heart won the Cinequest New Vision Award, which “pays homage to the director whose film best reflects the future.” Lexi DiBenedetto brings a best actress performance at the Sonoma International Film Festival.

sk8er-smiley-emoticonThis film delivers life of those who are ridiculed, teased and bullied for being themselves. Feel the sting by writers who lived life being bullied for choosing to be themselves. No gimmicky cliches, just raw emotion of living the live of a heterosexual in a gay world. How Would You Live If You Couldn’t Love?

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Sir Ian McKellen calls on Forest Gate pupils to tackle homophobic bullying

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Actor Sir Ian McKellen has spoken to Newham school children about the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

sir ianThe Lord of the Rings-normal and X-Men actor described to 300 pupils at Forest Gate Community School about his experience of coming out as gay during a visit organised by campaigning charity Stonewall.

The 76-year-old Hollywood star urged pupils to tackle homophobic bullying and chatted to the student council about discrimination and equality.

cheering-clapping-smiley-emoticonHe said: “I told them how important it is that in this school no one is allowed to discriminate on the grounds of someone’s sexuality or race or religion or anything. It is against the law

“Outside of the school is something they can’t control but in the school and classrooms they say what is acceptable and what is not.

wloveer-xmen“Because it starts here, with young people. If they understand that these things are not right and that you must be kind to one another that it starts to change things.”

Pupil Taye Trotman, 14, from Forest Gate, said the visit had been a “life-changing experience” for him and other students.

He said: “It was a really good visit for the student council because he gave us some new ideas about helping to support LGBT people in the school.

“It was really interesting to meet him. He changed our thoughts about tackling these issues.”

Sir Ian, who is best known for his roles as Magneto and Gandalf, came out when he was 49 and has long been an activist for LGBT rights.

Headteacher Simon Elliott said: “It is a great privilege to have someone of Sir Ian Mckellen’s statue visit the school.

193rainbow“As a Stonewall Champion school we are proud to promote tolerance, acceptance and diversity for all groups at this outstanding school.

“We want children to be able to express their identity in positive ways and we support children from all backgrounds to achieve.”

Article by Kat Hopps for the Newham Reporter ~ March 2016

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Scotland is training a small army of LGBT-friendly police

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“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” ~ Mother Teresa

CRIMES against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are under-reported and police hope the move makes it easier for them to come forward.

Mac-mac-apple-busy-smiley-emoticon-000712-facebookABOUT 60 police officers are being given special training to help crack down on hate crime against members of the LGBTI community .

The Equality Network charity has teamed up with Police Scotland to deliver a training programme for officers around the country.

policeIt is hoped they will go on to form a new network of liaison officers who can be contacted by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people who believe they have been a victim of a crime.

Experts hope the programme will increase public confidence in the police and encourage people to speak up about a form of crime which has typically been under-reported.

Scott Cuthbertson, of the Equality Network, said: “We know too many LGBTI people are the victims of hate crime , but we also know that many, for whatever reason, still do not report hate crimes. We want to change that.

587245,1310684605,1“That’s why we are pleased to be working so closely with Police Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and other criminal justice agencies to provide training on LGBTI issues and to work together to remove the barriers to reporting a hate crime.”

The officers will also be expected to advise their colleagues across the force on LGBTI issues.

Meanwhile, the Equality Network will also provide training for staff at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service , and LGBT Youth Scotland will roll out an anti-bullying programme in schools.

The number of charges for sexual orientation aggravated crime has risen since hate crime legislation came into effect in Scotland in March 2010, to stand at 841 in 2014-15, the Equality Network said.

Police officers will be trained and will pass their knowledge on to other staff

While reporting of transphobic hate crime remains low at 21 charges that year, there is said to be evidence of significant under-reporting.

A recent report by the charity found almost half of LGBT respondents had experienced or witnessed an incident of prejudice or discrimination in the past month, rising to 79% within the past year and 97% within their lifetimes.

Superintendent Jim Baird said tackling hate crime is a priority for Police Scotland.

MCj04298110000[1]He said: “If anyone feels they have been the victim of, or witness to, a crime which is motivated by malice or ill will because of sexual orientation or gender identity they should report it to us directly, online or through a third party reporting site.”

Fergus McMillan, chief executive of LGBT Youth Scotland, added: “We are currently working with a range of partners, including Equality Network, to increase the reporting of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crimes and incidents and improve the support available to those targeted.”

The initiatives are part of the national LGBT hate crime partnership, which brings together 35 organisations from across the UK.

Article posted ~ 14 Mar 2016 ~ b Hilary Duncanson for The Daily Record

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Booklet, “Born Free and Equal”

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“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”- Nelson Mandela

booklet f&e2images (4)“Born Free and Equalsets out the source and scope of some of the core legal obligations that States have to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. The 60-page booklet is designed as a tool for States, to help them better understand the nature of their obligations and the steps required to meet them, as well as for civil society activists, human rights defenders and others.

You can grab your copy free at this link or select your language:

English | French | Spanish | Russian | Arabic | Chinese (PDF)
Unofficial translations: Farsi | Khmer | Portuguese | Tetum | Turkish | Vietnamese

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Pink

one-my-size2 PINK~PINK~PINK~PINK~PINK~PINK~PINK 

me-pink2pinkfacePink is any of the colours between bluish red (purple) and red, of medium to high brightness and of low to moderate saturation. Commonly used for Valentine’s Day and Easter, Pink is sometimes referred to as “the colour of love“, “the artist Pink” and now “Pink Shirt Day” in Canada falling this year on Feb 22, 2017.

A little history on the use of the word Pink

The colour “Pink” was first recorded in the late 17th century. Although Pink is roughly considered just as a tint of red, most variations of Pink lie between red, white and magenta colors. This pink-smileymeans that the Pink’s hue is somewhat between red and magenta. Lucretius used the word to describe the dawn in his epic poem “On the Nature of Things” (De rerum natura). Roseus is a Latin word meaning “rosy” or “Pink.”

My Thoughts on Pink Shirt Day

I first heard about the boys in Nova Scotia in 2009 after discovering an article on-line, since which I started to follow. After a couple years and having the opportunity to  read and learn more from past articles in the archives of Pink Shirt Day, there was one detail that seem to have got lost since the first article I read. It’s all about awareness and prevention of Bullying above all else but I noticed that one main detail from the original story over time seemed to had somehow got omitted smilie=countryfrom the original story line, which added to the soul purpose of “Pink Shirt Day”. In the first few articles the Grade 9 boy who was being bullied for wearing a Pink shirt to school was a member of the “LGBTQI Community” and Two Straight boys stood up for him, this is a fine example of good character, something that all youth should know or hear about, it needs to be spoken out loud. Once realizing this I became more interested and involved and started to follow along. I soon realized I was right and not everyone was aware of the complete history that lead up to that day in 2007, we need not forget how and why “Pink Shirt Day” was started, and make sure history remembers.

I posted my first article “Speak out! Stop bullying: Wear pink on April 10” for “DayofPink” on April 10, 2013, after realizing just how far the “Pink Campaign” has actually travelled. streghtieIt’s now known around the world as “The International Day of Pinkthe International Day against Bullying, Discrimination, Homophobia, Transphobia, and Transmisogyny, this year falling on April 13, 2016.

I would like to close by commending the two youth, in their mid 20’s now and all those of you who have dedicated your time and efforts to the “Pink Shirt Day Campaign” and the fight against Bullying because “Awesome” don’t get any better then you!

Article posted Feb 21, 2016 – last updated Feb 21, 2017 by Terry.K

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The Most LGBT-Friendly Country in the World Has Been Declared

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Where in the world are citizens most tolerant of homosexuality?

The Most LGBT-Friendly Country in the World Has Been Declared
The Most LGBT-Friendly Country in the World Has Been Declared
According to the results of a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, the world’s most LGBT-friendly nation is none other than Spain.

Surprised?

The rankings were part of a 40-country survey on what is or is not considered morally acceptable. Respondents were asked to discuss the morality of issues, including married people having an affair, gambling, homosexuality, having an abortion, having sex before marriage, drinking alcohol, getting a divorce and using contraceptives.

Of Spaniards interviewed, 55% said homosexuality was morally acceptable, compared with 6% who said it was unacceptable and 38% who answered that it’s “not a moral issue.”

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It’s important to note that the rankings are based on percentage of respondents who classified homosexuality as morally unacceptable. The United States had a surprisingly high number of respondents claim homosexuality was morally unacceptable — 37% — however, another 35% claimed it was “not a moral issue.”

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic had the highest overall percentage of respondents claim homosexuality was morally acceptable, edging out Spain with 56%. However, 14% of Czechs surveyed said it was unacceptable.

smileys-cz-294Countries with the lowest tolerance, according to the survey, included Ghana and Russia, where 98% and 72% of citizens replied that homosexuality was morally unacceptable, respectively.

These results are consistent with Pew research from 2013 that concluded that Spain was the most LGBT-tolerant using a slightly different metric: the percentage of participants who believed homosexuality should be accepted by society.

While Spain is known for being predominantly Catholic, the country of nearly 48 million legalized same-sex marriages starting in 2005. The Spanish city of Madrid is also well known for its massive annual Pride parade, and the city will host the World Gay Pride event in 2017.


Article By Meredith Bennett-Smith April 21, 2014


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Tyler Clementi anti-bullying bill reintroduced in Congress

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“Schools need to take bullying, harassment and humiliation seriously, by making it official policy,” Jane Clementi said. “We support this legislation because no other student should have to feel the pain and humiliation that Tyler felt after he had been web-camed by his roommate.”


Legislation named after Tyler Clamenti was reintroduced in Congress. (Photo courtesy Facebook)
Legislation named after Tyler Clamenti was reintroduced in Congress. (Photo courtesy Facebook)
Lawmakers reintroduced a bill in Congress on Wednesday named after an 18-year-old Rutgers University student who committed suicide in 2010 after his roommate posted a video of his private romantic encounter with another man online.

The bill, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, was introduced in the House by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and in the Senate by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). The only out lesbian in the U.S. Senate, Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), is an original co-sponsor for the Senate bill.

In a statement, Murray said the legislation is necessary because students need the opportunity to further their education “without the fear of harassment and bullying.” “I am proud that this bill would take meaningful steps to provide schools and students with tools to prevent harassment and protect survivors,” Murray said. “By honoring Tyler’s life with this legislation, we can work to prevent the bullying that far too many students are forced to endure.”

According to the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, LGBT students are twice as likely as their straight peers to face harassment, but colleges and universities aren’t required to have policies protecting students either from harassment on electronic communications as well as harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity or religion.

The Tyler Clementi Act would require universities to put those policies in place in addition to creating a grant program to support campus anti-harassment programs.
Pocan, one of six openly LGB members of the House, said the legislation is needed because bullying is “a real and persistent danger for far too many students at our colleges and universities.”

Untitled-1“This bill ensures no student has to suffer the humiliation of being harassed for who they are, or who they love,” Pocan said. “Institutions of higher learning should be a place of open expression, which celebrate diversity and embrace students from all different backgrounds.”

After the incident in which students placed the video of him online, Clementi, who was 18 at the time, jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge. In 2012, Dharun Ravi, Clementi’s roommate and the student responsible for the video, was sentenced to 30 days in jail, three years probation, 300 hours of community service and a $10,000 fine.

Jane Clementi, founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation and Tyler’s mother, encouraged Congress to pass the legislation based on the experience of her son.

The Tyler Clementi Act has support from the Human Rights Campaign, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Association for University Women, the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and the Pride Foundation.

A news statement from the Senate HELP Committee lists the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention as a supporter of the bill, but a spokesperson for organization told the Blade it has no official position.


The Washington Blade | March 18, 2015 | by Chris Johnson


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Fifteen years after Matthew Shepard’s murder, Wyoming remains anti-gay

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Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands? ~Ernest Gaines~

 A basket of flowers hangs from the fence where Matthew Shepard was left to die. Photo: Steve Liss/Time & Life Pictures/Getty
A basket of flowers hangs from the fence where Matthew Shepard was left to die. Photo: Steve Liss/Time & Life Pictures/Getty

“Matt Shepard is a friend of mine” official Trailer


90U45897When Matthew Shepard died in a Colorado hospital 15 years ago this week, the shockwaves could be felt across America. Kidnapped by two men who had befriended him, tied up to a fence in a remote rural spot, pistol-whipped and tortured, Shepard died of his head injuries on 12 October, 1998.

The outrage that erupted from Shepard’s murder not only put his abductors – Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson – behind bars for life, but it also provoked a nationwide debate about hate crimes against gay people. Evidence presented at trial suggested that the attack had been motivated by violent antagonism towards Shepard, 21, as an openly gay man.

In the aftermath of the brutal killing, several states adopted new hate crimes laws that offered additional protection on grounds of sexual orientation and in some cases gender identity. In 2009, after a long campaign led by Shepard’s mother Judy, a federal version, known as the Matthew Shepard Act, was signed into law by President Obama.

But amid the far-reaching impact of Shepard’s death, one state has stood out as being singularly resistant to change – paradoxically, Shepard’s own home state of Wyoming, where he grew up and where he died. The state is one of only four that has refused to adopt hate crimes protections for the LGBT community – the others being Georgia, Indiana and South Carolina.

A Guardian interactive graphic of gay rights across the US underlines the point – it shows that Wyoming has no hate crimes laws, no same-sex marriage and no anti-discrimination legislation.

 Judy Shepard, mother of 21-year-old murder victim Matthew Shepard, poses for a portrait in the Brooklyn borough of New York February 17, 2013. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters
Judy Shepard, mother of 21-year-old murder victim Matthew Shepard, poses for a portrait in the Brooklyn borough of New York February 17, 2013. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

“Wyoming legislators had the perfect opportunity with Matthew’s death to deal with hate crimes, but they backed away,” Judy Shepard told the Guardian, speaking from Casper, Wyoming where she still lives. She has taken a strategic decision not to involve herself in Wyoming politics, on the assumption that it might be counter-productive.

But she still has very firm views about the state’s lack of legislative action over hate crimes. “If they had acted people would no longer think of Wyoming as a place of hate – they’d think of it as the state with Yellowstone and Jackson Hole, and not as the place where the gay kid was killed.”

The Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest group working for LGBT equality, has monitored Wyoming’s trajectory over the past 15 years. They have found the jolt that Shepard’s murder caused did not have the same practical effect as in so many other states.

Untitled-1“Unfortunately, Wyoming has taken the view that all crimes are crimes, and that’s good enough. The problem with that view is that it does not recognise that hate crimes have a unique impact on an entire community in a way that other sorts of crimes do not,” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC’s state legislative director.

A few months after the murder, Wyoming was prompted to introduce a hate crimes bill to the floor of its House of Representatives. The measure failed in a tied vote of 30-30.

Jason Marsden, director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which was set up by the victim’s parents, Judy and Dennis, was present at that vote in 1999 and recalls that “it was heartbreaking”. He says that the legislature has never again come close to making a serious bid to introduce protections against hate crimes for the LGBT community.

“My understanding is that the legislature are satisfied that they made the right decision on this, and they won’t be revisiting it any time soon,” he said.

But Marsden, who was a friend of Matthew Shepard’s for a year before he died, said that such a negative note should not be the end of the story. Change has come over the past 15 years even to Wyoming, a state with a population of barely half a million, a universally Republican-dominated politics and a pride in its prevailing libertarian anti-government attitudes.

Though it remains a state without pro-gay rights laws, more and more people are living as openly gay. Census figures reported by the Casper Star Tribune show that the number of same-sex couples in the state have almost doubled from 378 in 2000 to 657 in 2010.

Recent bills to outlaw LGBT discrimination in the workplace and to legalise same-sex partnerships both succeeded in getting out of committee and onto the floor of the legislature for the first time this year. The anti-discrimination bill came especially close, falling by only two votes in the state senate.

“Things are happening in Wyoming,” Marsden said. “More people are coming out and feeling comfortable to self-identify as gay. The state is evolving more quickly than any of us back in 1998 would have imagined.”

This video was produced for the American Giving Awards presented by Chase. The Matthew Shepard Foundation competed for a share of $2 million in grants. The Foundation ended up receiving $250,000 thanks to our many supporters. For more information on the Foundation visit http://www.MatthewShepard.org and http://www.MatthewsPlace.com


The Matthew Shepard Foundation presents “The Matthew Shepard Story”


This article was amended on 11 October 2013. The original said Matthew Shepard died in a Wyoming hospital.


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Mom on Suicide of Trans Teen Leelah Alcorn: ‘I Loved My Son’

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The entire interview along with resources can be found here. As Anna Merlan said in her previous post, this could have been avoided. Parents whose children are coming out can and should reach out for support and resources from LGBT+ organizations.


qz0wkq4oqnioqkvdelneThe mother of Leelah Alcorn, an Ohio teen who committed suicide earlier this week has spoken out about her child’s death and she wants to make one thing clear: That she loved her son but that religiously she just couldn’t support his choices. That obviously included the fact that Leelah was her daughter.

Carla Alcorn knew that Leelah was transgender, but she says that the first time she read the name Leelah was in the suicide note (which can be read here) the teen left behind. She also claims that she told Leelah that she’d always love her, but couldn’t support her for religious reasons while denying the fact that she or anyone else in the family had anything to do with the suicide. No memorial service has been held because Carla Alcorn is afraid there might be protests.

clipart-love-you-girl-smiley-emoticon-256x256-ba77While protests are in order (not just for Leelah but for all trans teens who are not supported by their families and communities), it’s painful to read her mother’s words, not only because she’s still misgendering her daughter but because she honestly believes that she wasn’t at all a part of the equation that led to Leelah feeling such despair. Carla Alcron told CNN that she got Leelah therapy and medication. What she doesn’t seem to grasp (even after the note and the outcry) is that Leelah likely didn’t stop talking to her about being trans because it was only a symptom of depression but because she had felt betrayed and that her family had “turned their backs on her.” CNN points out that Leelah wrote that the therapy she received was not the therapy that she needed (it was allegedly religion-based) and that her parents refused to sign papers allowing her to begin the transition process. And Leelah’s parents were angry that the teen had come out as gay to friends at school.

What’s most telling, again, about the interview is how staunchly Leelah’s mother refused to refer to her daughter as such, saying over and over what a great child her son had been. This kind of erasure, while probably seeming small to Carla Alcorn, is one of the biggest issues that teens who are coming out as Members of the LGBTQ+ community face. For Leelah, it was too much and she felt there was “no way out.”


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Continue reading…By Mark Shrayber Thursday Jan 1, 2015


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Bullying Not Allowed in Alberta Schools – Including Bullying Based on Sexual Orientation

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Alberta’s School Act requires school boards to ensure that students enrolled in their schools are provided with a safe and caring environment that fosters and maintains respectful and responsible behaviours.


???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The Alberta Legislature is concerned with bullying in schools, as evidenced by its recent discussion of Bill 202, Safe and Inclusive Schools Statutes Amendment Act, 2014, and Bill 10, An Act to Amend the Alberta Bill of Rights to Protect our Children. It again is timely to highlight the court’s involvement and the important role school boards have with respect to eliminating bullying in the school environment.

Although Bills 202 and 10 are not currently law, the common law in relation to bullying has developed such that there is a legal obligation on school boards to protect students from bullying. The high profile 2005 British Columbia Court of Appeal case School District No. 44 (North Vancouver) v. Jubran is an unfortunate example of homophobic bullying and the failure of the school to address homophobic insults and harassment.

The B.C. Human Rights’ Tribunal ruled in favour of Azmi Jubran’s human rights complaint of homophobic bullying at school. Jurban, who did not self-identify as gay, had suffered five years of homophobic insults and harassment by other students. Based on the extensive evidence provided to the Tribunal, it found Jubran had been subjected to harassment on a prohibited ground of discrimination and sexual orientation. The North Vancouver School Board was held to have been responsible for the discrimination because it failed to provide an educational environment free from discriminatory harassment. Put another way, it had not done enough to stop the harassment.

Another case reported that a parent was suing an Ottawa school board because her daughter suffered depression and anxiety allegedly as a result of repeated bullying and harassment. She was seeking over $300,000 in damages arising from the school board’s failure to protect her daughter from these events. A settlement was reached. In October, 2010, Law Times reported that four families were suing a school board in southwestern Ontario because their children were allegedly being harassed. They were seeking $35 million in damages.

School Board Duties
School boards owe duty of care to the students under their care and supervision. The law of negligence requires individuals and school boards to take reasonable steps to counter foreseeable risks of injury to those to whom a duty of care is owed. The standard of school boards to its students has been determined by the Court is that of a “reasonable and prudent parent.”

09_LOVE_fixAlberta school boards are also responsible for ensuring that their services do not discriminate against students based on any of the protected grounds in Alberta’s Human Rights Act, and for providing a discrimination-free educational environment. School boards may take the following steps to provide a safe and caring school environment, including providing an environment which is free from homophobic conduct:

  • Promote a climate of understanding and mutual respect so that all students are treated equally with dignity and respect;
  • Identify inappropriate student conduct, including scenarios where students are not treated with dignity and respect, and address these cases in a timely fashion;
  • Continue to educate students about the importance of maintaining a non-discriminatory, tolerant, and respectful school environment; and
  • Continue to educate teachers about available tools to educate their students on respectful behaviours, including:
  • Teach students about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and equality rights;
  • Teach students about the importance of tolerance including sexual orientation and gender expression;
  • Promote and talk about the schools’ codes of conduct;
  • Work with students to understand that discriminatory homophobic is not tolerated in schools; and
  • Invite outside speakers to talk to students and teachers about homophobia and other discriminatory behaviours.

images (27)If you are responsible for dealing with bullying or cyberbullying, we recommend you read Nova Scotia’s Task Force Report on Bullying and Cyberbulling: Respectful and Responsible Relationships: There’s No App for That, by Wayne MacKay,CM, QB, Chair Nova Scotia Task Force on Bullying and Cyberbullying.


By Teresa Haykowsky and David Risling


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