Excuse me while I contain my rage.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty tweeted this afternoon: "Let's all stand up against bullying and support our gay children. They have the right to a safe and happy life! #itgetsbetter"
That tweet sounds lovely, but his words are hollow. Back in April, McGuinty cancelled a sex ed curriculum update that would have helped fight homophobia in Ontario's schools.
Queers are still pissed at McGuinty's decision to shelve the new sex ed curriculum. At last night's Toronto vigil for lives lost due to homophobic and transphobic bullying, hundreds marched from Church and Wellesley streets to Queen's Park. Activist Anna Willats gave a passionate speech about how McGuinty has massively failed queer youth. Watch a clip of her speech below (starting at 1:20 seconds) and read an excerpt:
ACTIVIST ANNA WILLATS, QUEEN'S PARK, OCT 6, 2010:
You’ll remember that Dalton McGuinty did one of his maybe not-so rare flip-flops on the issue of a new curriculum that was going to be introduced here. Do you remember that? Do you remember the moral panic that was in the media based on a few complaints from very influential evangelical Christians?
Those complaints prompted the premier to remove a tool that would have helped lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans youth.
These deaths that are happening are of course individual, unique stories, just like the ones we heard earlier, but they happen in a system. They happen in a context that is transphobic, homophobic and heterosexist.
If that curriculum... is put into place, our kids have a safe space at school.
In that decision, our premier decided to take that away from kids, to save votes with evangelical Christians, frankly, and other fundamentalists. That is a shame!
This comes in an education system that had the guidance counsellors, the hall monitors, the child-abuse workers, the social workers ripped out of it for 10 years by the Mike Harris Tories. And that is followed up with one little light: some progressive curriculum that would allow kids to talk about sex, talk about sexuality, talk about gender, talk about themselves in relation to all that. They took that away and they’ve replaced it with nothing yet.
We have an election coming up… and you need to be asking the premier and anyone who’s running when they’re going to put that curriculum back in our schools so that our young people can be affirmed.... So that my kids and your kids and the youth among us and the youth of the future have a more positive space to go to....
It is 2000-and-fucking-10 folks… it would be funny if it wasn’t so pitiful.
McGuinty still has a chance to change things. Let him know that you want to see Ontario's 2010 sex ed plan implemented NOW:
- Dalton McGuinty: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Minister of Education, Leona Dombrowsky: email@example.com
- Find your MPP here
(You could also tweet back at him @Dalton_McGuinty - don't forget to add the #CanQueer and #OnPoli hashtags!)