Getting out the message for equality has been hard for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender community over the years, but the tougher job is getting people to listen to it.
In Victoria, schools are putting in the effort to get this information out at a young age so that equality might one day be successful.
The Gay Straight Alliance is a club found in all Victoria area high schools where students of any sexual orientation can be who they are without fear of judgment or discrimination. Dan Taft, a counselor and advisor of the GSA at Belmont Secondary, sees the importance in having this program in schools.
“It is incredibly important to have a GSA where kids can feel empowered and say ‘Hey, I belong, I’m okay the way I am and I can have a role in making others feel accepted.’”
Why do we need this club? Why do we need to reach out to people about a matter that the GSA hopes can one day become a none-issue? Currently on the news, we’ve heard a lot about the controversies that being gay brings to the world and how in places like Russia, it will never be deemed ‘normal’.
In my discussion with Taft, one word really stuck out to me was acceptance; the acceptance that being gay is not a choice, but how you are born, the acceptance that there is nothing wrong with loving the person of your choice and the acceptance that they are equal to anyone else in the world.
“You know you never hear about the difference between blue-eyed people and brown-eyed people…blue-eyed people don’t have more rights that brown-eyed people, it’s irrelevant.” Taft says, meaning that just because you’re different, doesn’t mean that you’re worth less than someone else.
It could be a while before sexual orientation becomes irrelevant, but Canada is taking steps towards speeding up the process. We have GSAs in schools and the Victoria Pride Society in our city, whose mission is to empower the LGBT community. We have varying laws from same-sex marriage to anti-discrimination and our newest step: being able to donate blood. Even across seas, down in the world of religion, the pope has stated his non-judgment for those who are gay. All of these are positive, but we still definitely need to keep walking.
“We have a ways to go,” Taft says. “Ideally, at some point, we wouldn’t need a GSA, we wouldn’t need to talk about gay rights and it wouldn’t be an issue because people would be treated equally and be equally appreciated. There would be no concern about your orientation.”
– Sydney Brilz is a Grade 11 student at Belmont secondary