The following is an opening letter from Muskoka Pride to Minister of Education Stephen Lecce:
Hon. Stephen Lecce September 1, 2023 Minister of Education
Subject: Concern regarding potential policy change negatively impacting 2SLGBTQ+ youth Dear Minister Lecce
I am writing to you on behalf of Muskoka Pride. Our mission is to increase awareness of the two spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (2SLGBTQ+) community of Muskoka and create opportunities for inclusivity within the District that challenge heterosexism and 2SLGBTQ+ discrimination providing a safer community for 2SLGBTQ+ people.
We believe discrimination and bigotry can be fought through visibility, and positive inclusion, of the 2SLGBTQ+ community that makes queer people visible within the greater society.
In meeting these objectives, we feel it is essential to speak out in opposition to the proposed changes to education policy, making it mandatory for youth under 16 to have parental consent to use their preferred gender pronouns/identity.
We are certain this change will have a negative impact on the mental health of 2SLGBTQ+ youth, particularly trans youth. We must protect the rights of youth by preventing nonconsensual disclosure of their gender identity, even to their parents. Don’t lose sight of the possibility the home may not be a safe space for many 2SLGBTQ+ youth. Forcing them to “come out” could cause irreparable harm or lead to suicide.
Policies around education and the school environment should look to maintain a safe, inclusive, and affirming environment. The changes being discussed will not do that.
President Muskoka Pride
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