This month the NDP government in Alberta introduced Bill 24, An Act to Protect Gay-Straight Alliances.
Gays-Straight Alliances (GSA’s) are peer support networks that promote welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students and their allies.
Bill 24 has been described as an act that is necessary to protect LGBTQ students and would make it illegal for teachers to inform parents if their child has joined a GSA, unless the child consented.
United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney, spoke out against the bill.
“Our caucus has come to a consensus to support students, parents and teachers by opposing Bill 24. Teachers, not politicians, should decide when it makes sense to engage parents,” he said.
Many Albertans and LGBTQ advocates are disappointed with Kenney’s remarks.
We should be supporting the LGBTQ community not in Alberta, not alienating them. If teacher was forced to ‘out’ a student to an unsupportive parent, this could have huge repercussions for the child.
GSA’s are supposed to be a place of support, not somewhere someone should be afraid to go.
Unions have a long history of supporting LGBTQ rights and continue to do so both inside and outside of the workplace. Many advancements in workplace rights have been linked to LGBTQ equality, and unions have been proud to support equal benefits, parental leave and right to marriage.
The Teamsters union is proud to have an LGBTQ Caucus with the purpose of s to unify, educate and empower Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the workforce at large, ‘to ensure equality in the workplace and to enhance workers’ power at the bargaining table, in organizing campaigns, and in the political arena.’
Teamsters Local 362 intends on implementing committees of rank and file members to represent the five key equity groups recognized by the Canadian Labour Congress including workers of colour, workers with disabilities, women, Indigenous workers and LGBTQ.
No matter your race, gender, sexual orientation all Albertan’s deserve to be treated with respect at school, home and in the workplace and unions are proud to fight for those rights.