Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pink Shirt Day: Keep it going!

Today is "Pink Shirt Day" - a day to take a stand against bullying in our schools and workplaces. In our work towards equality, we acknowledge the impact of systemic discrimination and promote the right to positive sexual health for all people.

In today's blog, we focus on the LGBT community and how we can keep the "Pink Shirt" spirit going all year long!  

1. Support a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) in your school

We are proud to host monthly meetings of the Calgary GSA Roundtable for students, teachers, staff, and administrators to meet, network, and share strategies in support of sexual and gender minority youth attending schools in Calgary and surrounding communities. The monthly Roundtable meetings aim to provide resources, supports and connections to schools in order to assist GSAs in creating safe, inclusive, and equitable school environments for sexual and gender minority students, questioning students, and students from same-sex parented families.

If you want to start a GSA in your school, or if you want to share ideas and visions for your GSA, please connect with us and attend an upcoming meeting.

2. Create a Culture of Respect (CCOR) at your workplace for LGBT staff

We offer three levels of support to help your organization create a culture of respect: professional training, customized in-service training, and policy development.

We can bring our training session to your location, where we will explore the reality of heterosexism in society and its impact on client service delivery models and practices. Drawing on actual experiences, facilitators work together with participants to identify strategies to create safe and supportive environments for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender clients and co–workers. Contact us for more info.

3. Be an LGBT ally

When people disclose that they are LGBT, it means they care enough about you to be vulnerable and let you into their personal lives. It takes courage to come out so honour the process and offer your support. Listen more than you talk and never disclose a person’s sexual orientation or gender identify to others. It’s not your story to tell.

Just as coming out can be difficult for LGBT people, the coming out process can also affect family members, especially parents who may be struggling to accept their child’s sexual orientation and may worry about how other people will react.

For tips on how to support someone who comes out to you and how to be an LGBT ally, visit us at:

4. Check your language

When was the last time you heard a gay joke? Last week. When someone says something is “totally gay” what are the chances they mean something positive? None. Derogatory jokes and comments about sexual orientation are so common that they have become accepted as part of our everyday language.

So what’s the big deal? Well, these seemingly harmless jokes and remarks are hurtful and send a strong message that being LGBT is unacceptable. They are part of the reason that many LGBT teens don’t dare come out and suffer in silence. It’s called homophobiaMake a pledge to stop using homophobic language, and to take a stand when you hear it.