Solutions

Luckily for us, our solution appears to be extremely cost effective. Our plan is to incorporate LGBTQ+ into the societal norm. We would do this through getting rid of stereotypes by means of educating people, curriculum implementation including literature or sex ed, inviting guest speakers- preferably students taking leadership role, having gender neutral washrooms- which cost $20,000 only if they aren’t included in the original making of the school- and we would want to implement these even at preschool but it would likely only be plausible for as early as kindergarten. According to our expert our solution is basically already in the works as there is curriculum implementation in september as early as grade four and has no cost as the government implements this. The real issue is getting teachers to be comfortable teaching the new curriculum and making sure they do.

Expert: Extra Information

Our expert also gave us some very interesting information as well as helping us with our solution.  Some may believe that we should abolish labels altogether, but according to actual LGBTQ+ people that our expert has talked to, it’s far too early for that; as the issue is too new, changing the name could take the issue out of the spotlight. Furthermore, having something to identify with allows LGBTQ+ people to better understand themselves as they have something to look into and identify with aspects of it. Perhaps one day labels can be abolished, but there is a long way to go. The most interesting thing that we found out from some statistics we were given was that 64% of LGBTQ+ actually don’t feel safe in school with the most prominent places in the school being changing rooms and washrooms. The stats we acquired mostly focused on trans people, with 70% experiencing sexual harassment, 75% having self harmed, 69% having expressed suicidal thoughts within the last year, and 37-40% having attempted suicide. Reducing poor views of LGBTQ+ helps everyone, as schools with anti-homophobia policies make all students less likely to abuse alcohol and less likely to be harassed.

Advertisements

More Connections

Connection #3:

Through our third connection we acquired plenty of new information. We learned that when tackling prejudice, one should take an eclectic approach. There is not one true source of this prejudice; it may originate from religion, parents, lack of education, or fear of anything different. Perhaps we could educate people in earlier years as to reduce these factors, such as having discussions with elementary students and having curriculum implementation earlier on than high school. We were very pleased to find out that Qmunity has already started talking with grades 5-7. We also found out about  youthinbc.com which allows teens to live chat with support people about LGBTQ+ issues. Unfortunately LGBTQ+ are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, or thoughts of suicide of which is likely due to fear of not being accepted by their peers, family, schools, or community. Our source depicted Langley child and youth mental health centre as being very resourceful. We were happy to hear that policies have changed within the last few years although the unanimous opinion from all of our sources has been that there is a long way to go.

Connection #4:

Through our fourth connection we obtained some new and reoccurring information. Typically with those struggling with bullying there is physical and emotional abuse involved. Physical can start as shoving and lead to beating that individual up, where emotional abuse is name calling by degrading another individual. We have discovered through most connections that those who are bullied mostly keep their issues to themselves. One of the coping mechanisms that one could use is holding onto hope. Knowing that things will ultimately get better in the future could help LGBTQ+ students with facing bullying. This would be a hard thing to grasp for someone in this situation, but it could possibly boost up optimism. In terms of combating bullying, it can be considered a short or long term battle. It all depends on how willing someone is to change their attitudes and behaviours. This connection said that there is no particular solution to this issue, and that it must be tackled with a more eclectic approach. They did however reiterate the fact that poor views towards LGBTQ+ people most likely come from fear of the unknown; more education and role models for the community can help change these views. In terms of labeling, it would be easier to not label people as labels cause conformity.

Memorabilia

We received a few items from our first connection after our meeting with them- thanks!

Bookmark, notebook and pencil

This was a form meant to be given out to teachers to increase their understanding on how to further support students.

Part 1 of inside a poster (found below)

Part 2 of inside a poster (found below)

This is a poster that was meant to be posted up around the school. When Tarrah began to put up a poster in a Grade 9 classroom, she overheard a student say “that’s so gay.” It’s hard to tell whether they were reading the poster or making fun of it…

Connecting With The School

Boy, did we collect some interesting information this week (technically last week now to be more specific)! On Wednesday and Friday we spoke with two staff members at WGSS, who we are choosing to keep anonymous. Through them, we’ve discovered new insights and ideas that we had yet to think of.

Prior to these meetings, we thought of some solutions to the issue surrounding LGBTQ+ students and bullying:

  • Assemblies- Have speakers come in and teach students on different aspects of LGBTQ+ to help diminish stigmas and negativity.
  • Sexual Education- Currently revolves around heterosexual relationships and STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections).
  • Counselling for families- Having a facility for families to attend to help better understand the term “LGBTQ+” and further support their child.

 

Summary of 1st connection.

From what we gathered, bullying of LGBTQ+ students is a problem, but it’s not reported as much as it should be. The reason it isn’t is the same reason our connection said causes the poor views towards LGBTQ+ students: fear. People fear what they don’t understand and this is perpetuated over and over as people see these poor views all around them. It starts as a fear of the unknown, as people have misunderstood bible verses as much as LGBTQ+ as a whole, perhaps it turns into a fear of judgement by those around them? Outdated views are mostly perpetuated in elementary school, as PE class is divided into guys and girls and punishments for slander are severely lacking as “kids will be kids” but if those views are shut down from the start high schools won’t need to be the ones to crack down, the ideas will never exist in the first place. Luckily, Langley is ahead of the game when combating LGBTQ+ issues. Already WGSS has gender neutral washrooms and although they are only located in the drafting hallway, they have already received a lot of improvement. When these washrooms started a key was required, which wasn’t exactly user friendly as not only would it out some people who may not want to be out yet, but it was also a privacy hazard as teachers or anyone else with a key could open it, not realizing it was occupied. One surprising thing we found out is that it actually costs $20,000 to convert a washroom into a gender neutral washroom. Gender neutral washrooms would be far more cost effective if included in the original construction of the school, like in the case of the new school being built in Burnaby. WGSS already has pride club and is working with Qmunity in Vancouver, but it doesn’t stop there. Already there are plans for curriculum changes, in literature in English class to examples in math, making the norm include LGBTQ+ instead of being heavily hetero-normative. This start to changing the norm will immensely help LGBTQ+ students who already face complications in their teen years with fear of family and friends not accepting them, fearing for their safety, and being vulnerable. Although there isn’t too much support specifically geared toward LGBTQ+ Encompass family services has group drop ins for LGBTQ+. The question is: should we be separating LGBTQ+ into its own category? Nothing will be adequate when combating the bullying of LGBTQ+ students (nor bullying in general) as we can always do better, but would making its own policies around it instead of having it in policy 7200 help this human rights issue or push it so far out of the norm it can never be fixed?

 

Summary of 2nd connection:

When speaking with our second connection, we discovered many similarities in issues are reinforced surrounding LGBTQ+ and bullying in Walnut Grove Secondary. This speaker stated that bullying is prevalent, but they don’t hear enough about problems surrounding LGBTQ+ as students aren’t coming forward as often as they’d like. Similar programs were brought up by both connections, but during this meeting we were told how educating the staff is in need. When bringing up the fact that we had not heard about WGSS having gender neutral washrooms until we started this project, our connection was quite surprised as students were supposed to be informed earlier in the year by teachers. This coincides with the fact that all teachers and staff don’t fully understanding the term “LGBTQ+” and the importance of providing a safer environment for students. For solutions, it was agreed that a change in the curriculum needs to take place by adding more diversity in classes by including LGBTQ+ in areas such as literature in English or even mathematical equations. This speaker brought up the idea of having senior students take on a larger leadership role in helping inform younger students, as there is an overall lack in educating students on this topic. The only class that we have knowledge in that addresses issues surrounding the LGBTQ+ community is Social Justice, but it’s not a required course for students to take. On schools combating bullying issues, we were told that there hasn’t been enough done to get the problems with LGBTQ+ bullying where it should be, mainly because it was a topic that was avoided for so long. When asking if clubs, such as Pride Club, are safe for students to attend, this connection believes for the most part that they are. The main issue is not knowing all the students who identify under this category, which makes protection quite difficult. Students may be judged by others when attending clubs, but there isn’t any immediate threat to be found. WGSS is currently trying to learn ways to further protect students.

 

We greatly appreciate our two anonymous connections for providing the time to answer our questions.

What’s Your Issue?

Is this Tumblr? Where’s all the relatable and somewhat humourous posts with overused GIFS? I guess that’s besides the overall point of this soon-to-be interesting blog. Let’s get all this formality business out of the way. My name is Jordan, and I’ve decided to kindly share this blog with my acquaintance, Tarrah. Why did we create this blog? Well, you’re about to find out!

We’ve created this blog to use as an outlet to share our findings on our topic: LGBTQ+ and bullying. Why don’t I let Tarrah take over and list off what we’ve found as our current issues and causes.

The Issue?

Bullying of course!

The Causes?

Norms!

Children adopt this prejudice through observational learning from their parents, and therefore replicate such behaviour. As many see this aggression from their peers they conform to this informational social influence. This aggression may escalate through social facilitation to more than just verbal aggression and extend into physical aggression.

Nothing stopping them? Perhaps teachers perpetuate these behaviours as well, as seen in the case of an Aldergrove school teacher taping a sign to a students back saying “I’m gay” resulting in extensive bullying. (Click here for the article)  

Ask yourself this: How can students expect to be punished if their elder’s are behaving in the same manner?