Red Deer’s Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School hosted its inaugural DYEversity Relay in October. This non-competitive event brought students, staff, parents and community members together to promote and celebrate diversity. Organizers were hoping for 300 participants but were astounded to have 640 people on 83 teams taking turns walking, running, wheeling and dancing around the track during the five-hour event, which raised enough money to support the creation and maintenance of a breakfast program in the school.
The province has introduced amendments to the Human Rights Act that would add gender identity and gender expression as expressly prohibited grounds of discrimination.
Protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression is specifically relevant for trans and gender variant people, as their gender identity may differ from the sex they were assigned at birth, said Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley.
"If passed, Bill 7 will empower the trans and gender variant community as they confront the stereotypes and discrimination that we know still exist," said the minister. "All Albertans deserve to be treated with equal dignity and respect."
Jan Lukas Buterman, a teacher who is the president of the Trans Equality Society of Alberta, said the bill represents formal affirmation of human rights, which is an important step towards addressing ongoing social inequalities.
"Instead of trans Albertans seeking remedy after discrimination has occurred, including gender identity and gender expression in the Alberta Human Rights Act will help discourage such discrimination from happening in the first place."
The Alberta Teachers’ Association has a long history of advocating for the rights of gender and sexual minorities.
The bill underwent second reading on Nov. 25. ❚