Written by Mrs. Wyness, Math Teacher & Service Coordinator at Aspengrove School
The month of June has been recognized as Pride Month in Canada only since the early 2010s, however, Pride events have been happening since the early 1970s, with Canada’s first Gay Rights Protest taking place in 1971 and the first Pride Week in Canada taking place in 1973! Since then, Pride Week and Pride Month have evolved into global events celebrating the 2SLGBTQIA community, the act of self-acceptance, their achievements, legal rights, and, of course, pride!
To celebrate Pride Week and Pride Month, Aspengrove School held a number of events such as a series of slideshows detailing influential people from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community as well as the history of Pride Week and Pride Month and its importance, a handprint mural for a school pride flag, ally bracelets, sidewalk chalk art, a fabulous free dress day, and much, much more!
What is the GSA?
GSA stands for Gender and Sexuality Alliance. Here at AGS we have two GSAs (grades 6-8 and grades 9-12) as part of our co-curricular program. Each GSA has a sponsor teacher and weekly lunchtime meetings. The meetings are an opportunity for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities to come together in a safe enviroment and support each other. At AGS, our groups talk about issues faced by the 2SLGBTQ+ community, create art that supports inclusivity, listen to music by members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and plan pride activities. It is also an opportunity for students to develop their inclusive leadership skills with the support of a trusted adult.
It has been found that groups like GSAs can help to create more inclusive schools and communities by creating these safe spaces. Studies have shown that having a GSA within a school community can increase students’ feelings of belonging and being heard. Students can contribute to their community and be a part of creating a welcoming environment.
What is a SOGI-Inclusive school?
BC’s current curriculum includes a focus on valuing diversity and respecting differences, and the topics of human rights and responses to discrimination. As a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Inclusive school, Aspengrove School prides itself on being a safe space for all students. At a SOGI-inclusive school, students’ gender does not limit their interests and opportunities, and their sexual orientation and how they understand and express their gender are welcomed without discrimination. At AGS, grade-appropriate topics related to gender and self-identity are included in the curriculum for knowledge, as well as to help students understand and respect diversity (More information about the SOGI 123 curriculum can be found here).
Aspengrove School strives to celebrate, acknowledge and accept diversity in all its forms. One of those ways is through our GSA (Gender & Sexual Alliance) Clubs, participation in the SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) 123 Curriculum, as well participation in various other activities, celebrations, and events throughout the year.
Thank you to Mrs. Godfrey and Mrs. Wyness as well as the School’s GSA Club for organizing the week’s events as well as ensuring we educate our staff and students on the importance of Pride Week and Pride Month!