Xtra Weekly
3 min

Xtra Weekly: Jason Kenney’s attack on LGBTQ2 students

Queer pets, Straight men’s cuddling clubs, and Cardi B. Here’s your Xtra Weekly, March 29

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney in the 2018 Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa, Feb 10, 2018. Credit: The Canadian Press/Matthew Usherwood

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WEEKLY DEBRIEF

Earlier this week, Jason Kenney announced that, if elected, he would roll back some school protections for LGBTQ2 students.

Here’s what you need to know 👉On Monday, Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) leader Jason Kenney announced some of his party’s plans for the provincial education system if elected on April 16.

One affects gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in schools. In his proposal, Kenney said a UCP government will still allow students to set up the alliances, but if teachers feel a student’s health or safety is at risk, they have the option to tell parents that their child has joined.

What caused the uproar 👉GSAs are safe spaces where queer students and allies can hang out and talk. The Alberta School Act originally required schools to inform parents when topics related to religion and sexuality were to be discussed in class, and allowed parents to pull their children from those classes. However, in 2017, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s government passed Bill 24, which amended parts of the Act and barred school officials from informing parents of their child’s participation in a GSA except if the student was in danger.

Kenney’s proposed plan means reverting back to pre-2017 policies.

In response to Kenney’s announcement, the hashtag #QueerKidsAB made waves on social media and became Canada’s top trending topic on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, people gathered outside of the Alberta legislature to protest Kenney’s announcement.

Why is this an issue 👉In an interview with a local radio show in Calgary, Mike Morrison, an LGBTQ2 blogger and one of the people who first used #QueerKidsAB, said that informing parents of their child’s involvement in a GSA could potentially harm them if the parents hold anti-LGBTQ2 beliefs.

Recent studies show that Canadian LGBTQ2 youth are more likely to end up homeless due to an inability to get along with their parents when compared to their heterosexual cisgender peers. LGBTQ2 youth are also at higher risk of being victims of suicide compared to heterosexual youth — difficulty with self-acceptance and social stigmatization are considered possible factors of this heightened risk.

Morrison says Kenney should keep this in mind when thinking of nullifying Bill 24.

“If one kid dies because of Jason Kenney’s rollback, that’s one too many,” he said.

WORLD AT A GLANCE

🌎 Salty Summit. An anti-LGBTQ2 group is set to convene (and bask in each other’s negative energy) in Italy.

🌎 Brunei wants to fast-track new laws that could see LGBTQ2 people whipped or stoned to death. 😠

🌎 Judge Kevin Moriarty, who played a key role in Kansas’ first same-sex marriage, has announced his retirement. Thanks, Judge! 🌈

🌎 Malaysian MP Datin Mastura Mohd Yazid has expressed her concerns over Netflix’s LGBTQ2 content. Some people need to chill and start new hobbies.

🌎 Rollercoaster. All charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett have been dropped.

🌎 An Australian man is believed to be the seventh person in the world to contract HIV while using PrEP. Here’s what you need to know and why you should not be worried.

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