Authentic Support For GSAs
I support the Alberta Party because they take a sincere and authentic stance in support of evidence based public policy. The evidence clearly shows that school policies are more effective at creating a safe and stable learning environment when they are specific to the needs of the students. This is why broad policies which blanket all students in general are not as good as policies which specifically lay out steps to protect students who are identified as a target of bullying and abuse.
In our democracy it is incumbent upon our leaders to zealously protect the rights or all citizens; especially those who are the most easy to disagree with. So, regardless of your opinions about the issues surrounding LGBTQ rights; there is only one fair and ethical stance to take regarding Gay - Straight Alliances (GSAs) in public schools.
- All students have the absolute right to not be discriminated against.
- All students have the absolute right to a safe learning environment.
It then follows that the students who may be the hardest to love are the ones who need protection from discrimination the most; namely LGBTQ students. *
The reason why GSAs are needed in public schools is because LGBTQ students are consistently targeted by bullies. Since bullying creates fear in the students and clearly causes them harm, we need a solution to prevent it from happening. That is precisely what GSAs do. They create and foster a safe environment so that students can go to school without fear of harassment and abuse.
If you are inclined to disagree with me please be very mindful of the facts. LGBTQ students who are targeted by bulling have a significantly higher risk of suicide.
A study of students (grades 7-12) found that LGBTQ students were 2 times more likely to have attempted suicide than heterosexual peers.
University of British Collumbia Study: Gay-Straight Alliances in schools reduce suicide risk for all students
With that said; I am glad that our government now officially accepts GSAs but the reluctance of the PCs to be leaders in this regard and the ignorance of their original stance, has caused A LOT of harm! Albertans need to remember this when we go to vote in the next government of our province!
Now to be fair if this were the only reason I supported the Alberta Party it could also lead me to support the NDP and the Liberals. Afterall it was Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman who introduced Bill 202 and brought the issue of GSAs into the public conversation. I laud those other parties for taking an authentic stance on this issue as well.
Admittedly, my argument isn't so much for the Alberta Party as it is against the Wildrose and the Progressive Conservative parties. Both of those parties have in the past failed Albertans and failed students who were the target of bullying.
"But the PCs DO support GSAs! They just came out supporting them a few months ago!"
- The truth is that the PCs were dragged kicking and screaming into supporting GSAs. If there hadn't been such a loud public outcry they would have swept the issue under the rug and forgotten about it. This is how they are. Their actions have proven they do not really care about this issue. Their actions have proven that they just care about getting re-elected and that they will say whatever it takes to do so.
"But the WRP DOES support GSAs! They allow MLAs to vote their conscience!"
- I'm sure that there are some reasonable Wildrosers; but, I do not trust them. Although they have been getting better at biting their tongues and not saying racist, bigoted things; there are still plenty of examples of sexist tweets, racist comments, and homophobic attitudes. A quick google search will demonstrate this.
Furthermore, the WRP is unofficially the party of choice for people who are opposed to LGBTQ rights.
The other day I was talking with someone about the Alberta Party. The first question they asked me was "Do you support gay marriage?". My reply was that I support human rights. To which I received the retort "That's why I'm supporting the WRP. They don't support the gays."
Clearly the WRP is still perceived as being the party that is anti-gay and they will get the homophobic vote. I would have a lot of respect for their new leader if he would take decisive action to change this perception; but he has not. So it seems fair to assume, based on his wishy-washy stance, that he secretly endorses it.
We used to have government policies which endorsed racism (See: Reason #2 Why I support the Alberta Party) and we used to have government policies which were sexist. But we have moved on. This is called progress. It's time for some NEW ENERGY in Alberta. We are at a turning point in history and we need visionary leadership.
As scathing as I am to the WRP and the PCs there are some good ideas that the Alberta Party takes from them. Likewise there are some good ideas that they take from the Liberals and the NDP. The Alberta Party is committed to taking the best ideas from around the table and finding workable solutions that will serve ALL Albertans.
I fully support Greg Clark, the leader of the Alberta Party and I fully endorse the Alberta Party Candidate in Red Deer North, Krystal Kromm.
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Krystal Kromm is the Alberta Party candidate for Red Deer North.
Check out her website to learn about her platform!
* I have friends and family members who are gay and I assure you that they are in fact very easy to love.