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A month ago, hundreds of Yukoners came out as a community to show our unflinching support of 2SLGBTQIA+ youth and SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity-inclusive) education in schools. Together, we vastly outnumbered and outlasted the “1MillionMarch4Children” protest against SOGI education in Whitehorse, and sent a powerful message of support to 2SLGBTQIA+ youth and their peers across the Territory.
Now, the national movement against queer & trans lives has planned another round of protests on October 21st, 2023. Organizers of the Yukon protest have been relatively quiet since September. The time and location of a local follow-up protest has been kept out of the public eye, likely in hopes that secrecy will prevent supporters of 2SLGBTQIA+ students and educators from once again drowning them out with displays of love and care for our youth.
We may not know when or where the next anti-SOGI protest will pop up, but we maintain our unwavering support for the queer, trans and questioning youth of our community. Youth of every gender and orientation deserve an education that includes them and their experience.
SOGI education is not an attempt to “turn kids gay/trans.” We know that a person’s gender and sexuality cannot be changed by external forces, and that our diverse genders and sexual orientations are a natural part of human diversity. (Conversion therapy, which attempts to turn trans and queer people straight or cisgender, is abusive, illegal in the Yukon, and proven to be ineffective.)
Neither does the inclusion of 2SLGBTQIA+ topics in school “sexualize” kids—learning about Two-Spirit, trans and queer relationships, identities and individuals is no less age-appropriate than the heterosexual counterparts. SOGI education simply teaches youth about the factual diversity that exists in the world, giving them tools to navigate their society and see themselves, their friends and families reflected in their curriculum. In fact, research shows that creating 2SLGBTQIA+-inclusive school environments makes both straight and 2SLGBTQIA+ students feel safer, improves their mental health, and reduces instances of sexual assault.
“Conversations around gender and sexuality are new topics of our time, and are (very unfortunately, to everyone’s detriment) currently a major talking point politically. But! when removed from the political spectrum, these conversations are quite mundane in nature, and more or less could be a chapter in any social studies textbook.Even if your child isn’t queer, they most certainly will know other queer students, or have queer friends. The conversations had around queerness in the school environment are helpful to the student body as a whole.”
- From a handout at the September 20 Counterprotest in Whitehorse
The anti-SOGI crowd talks about “protecting the children'' to rally support for their attacks on trans and queer people’s lives and safety, using wild insinuations, misrepresentation and scientifically-unsound studies to spread fear and unease among those of us who don’t know any better. The tactic preys on our protective instincts and our love for children. But eliminating SOGI topics from schools is not an act of protection, it’s an assault on children’s human rights.
As 2SLGBTQIA+ community members and allies, we ask you to show your commitment to our youth by adding your name to this Open Letter. If you want to learn more about these topics, we’ve included some resources below to get you started.
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About queer yukon society
Queer Yukon Society supports, promotes, and organizes events for the LGBTQ2S+ community and our allies in Whitehorse, Yukon. Officially incorporated in 2018, Queer Yukon has been organizing Yukon Pride since 2013, as well as many other events to bring together LGBTQ2S+ and allied Yukoners to build a strong and vibrant community.