Positive Space – 2SLGBTQIA+

Positive space logoAs part of our commitment to equity and inclusion, Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) promotes Positive Space as one of many opportunities for system learning under the umbrella of Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education strategy. There are students, staff, and parents/guardians in our school communities who identify as two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual plus (2SLGBTQIA+). The goal of Positive Space has always been to create and identify safer and more inclusive spaces for 2SLGBTQIA+ communities within TLDSB. Our Positive Space plaques continue to hang prominently in our schools and offices to make it clear that the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and their allies are welcomed, and feel safe, included, and respected in our Board.

Gender identity and expression in TLDSB schools

Everyone is protected from harassment based on gender identity and expression: The Human Rights Code protects an individual’s right to live their own gender identity. Transgender people are to be recognized and respected as the gender they live in. As a publicly funded school board, it is a shared responsibility with our school community to welcome and accommodate the needs of transgender people.

Everyone has a right to privacy: TLDSB buildings provide an easily accessible, all-gender, single-use washroom/change room for use by anyone who desires increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason. School boards have the responsibility to treat everyone’s personal information as confidential. Parents and students are welcome to speak with their school principal for any required support.

In TLDSB, everyone is supported in safe and accepting schools: Education, including supportive and affirming language for discussing gender identity and expression, will be shared in classrooms and with school communities. Schools work in cooperation with students (and their family) to develop a plan that will meet their needs. The school will work to provide appropriate accommodations.

Positive Space resource documents

If you require these documents in an accessible format, contact Communications Services at [email protected].

Flying the Pride Flag

The month of June is recognized as Pride Month in Canada. In support of our commitment to providing a positive school climate for all students, staff, and community, all TLDSB Board offices and schools will fly the Progress Pride flag alongside with the Canadian flag during the month of June.

Frequently asked questions

TLDSB believes in safe and caring school communities. It is important that all students, including our youngest students, learn to respect differences. Students and staff need to see themselves reflected in the language used in classrooms and in the school. Positive Space is only one component of the Equity and Inclusive Education strategy. Since 2009, TLDSB has been working on a number of inclusive education initiatives including religious accommodation, Indigenous rights, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status, to promote a safe and caring school climate for all.

The wording in the Positive Space plaque does include all members of the school community – family, friends, and allies. Positive Space is one of many initiatives the school board is implementing to promote a safe and caring school climate for all. This includes providing ongoing training and resources in character development, Indigenous rights, religious accommodation, and accessibility rights.

Parents who would like further information, and have already spoken with the school principal, may contact the school superintendent. Parents can also find more information and resources on this webpage and at the Feed All Four website.

2SLGBTQIA+ refers to two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, plus. The + means other gender identities not reflected in the rest of the acronym, and also includes allies.

Pride Month is celebrated annually in June to honour the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in the United States, and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for people in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

The 1969 raids at the Stonewall Inn in New York City sparked a massive, six-day uprising and launched the modern gay civil rights movement. The events inspired the formation of ground-breaking gay activist alliances — as well as the annual Pride Parade march that takes place each June around the world.

TLDSB believes in equality and opportunity for all students, including those who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+. Each of our schools is committed to providing its students with a positive school climate. We know that when students feel safe and supported in a healthy school climate, they have greater success. Through the work of our Equity Task Force, as well as the province’s education equity action plan, we are committed to continuing to identify and work toward eliminating barriers to student and staff success, inclusion, and well-being.

Many of our students, staff, parents/guardians, and community members identify as 2SLGBTQIA+. We believe that our schools should be safe spaces for everyone that walks through our doors, especially for younger people who may not see the same degree of visibility and allyship in other spaces for 2SLGBTQIA+ people. Flying the Progress Pride flag is not only a symbol of respect, welcome, and inclusion, but it also aligns with our mission statement, our guiding principles, and our strategic plan, all of which may be found on the Board’s Strategic Plan page.

The Government of Canada Department of Canadian Heritage is responsible for establishing the protocol and guidelines for the use of the National Flag of Canada across all federal buildings, but the rules applied by the federal government are in no way mandatory for individuals or organizations, including school boards.

Learn more on the Government of Canada’s website about National Flag of Canada etiquette and the rules for flying the National Flag of Canada.

Encourage your child to be inclusive of other people who aren’t the same as them or their family. Knowing and understanding more about different sexualities and gender identities can also help reduce prejudice and bullying. The Canadian Paediatric Society provides information on how gender identity typically develops and how parents and guardians can promote healthy development of gender identity and expression in children, including the following highlights:

  • Love your child for who they are.
  • Talk with your child about gender identity. As soon as your child is able to say words like “girl” and “boy,” they are beginning to understand gender.
  • Ask questions! This is a great way to hear your child’s ideas about gender.
  • Don’t pressure your child to change who they are.
  • Find opportunities to show your child that gender-diverse and transgender people exist and belong to many communities who appreciate and love them.
  • Ask your child’s teachers how they support gender expression.

If you think that your child might be questioning, or if your child comes to you with questions or concerns about their gender identity or sexual orientation, it’s important to remember to be there for your child to love and support them no matter what. Your acceptance matters to their health and safety. Let them know that you’re always there if they want to talk, let them take the lead, and don’t push them to talk before they’re ready. Visit the Kids Help Phone website for five ways to support youth with identity and gender expression.

For further suggestions on what you can do to support a young person who comes out to you, visit the Eagle website.

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