The Burnaby School District is proud to have hosted the most significant event in British Columbia for LGBTQ2+ and allied high school students. More than 300 educators and students travelled from all over the province to Moscrop Secondary for the Gay Straight Alliance Forum to learn more about building inclusive communities.
The youth event was put on in partnership with The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) in Ottawa. It supports providing knowledge, tools and skills for youth to navigate their secondary school experiences.
Burnaby Schools Grade 10 student Cole Sheehan-Klassen gave the keynote address.
“We all deserve to live as our true self and we are all more than just our identity.” said Cole, who shared his journey toward embracing who he is as a transgender youth.
He left students with this parting advice: “We can’t control other’s minds, only our own. We are who we are and that is more than okay. It is amazing.”
Also attending and supporting the event were school trustees, Burnaby North’s Member of the Legislative Assembly, Janet Routledge, as well as the Member of Parliament for New Westminster – Burnaby, Peter Julian.
“If one student is harassed or one student is bullied that is one too many,” said Julian at the opening of the forum. He added that he saw the event as an opportunity for students to “share stories so you will see your own path forward.”
Following the opening addresses, attendees broke into workshops covering topics such as LGBTQ2+ history. There were also workshops specifically for educators, to support their efforts in continuing to provide supportive learning environments for all students.
It’s been many years since the first provincial Gay Straight Alliance Forum for LGBTQ2+ and allied students who are passionate about building inclusive communities. This is the fourth year that the Burnaby School District has hosted and partnered on it; during that time it has grown from less than one-hundred people to more than 300 students and educators. This was also the first year that a Burnaby student has given the keynote address.
Photo (clockwise from left): Genevieve Doyon, Dan Adrian, Janet Routledge, Larry Hayes, Gary Wong, Jen Mezei, Jeremy Dias and Peter Julian.
Posted October 2018