(BCSTA image)

(BCSTA image)

LETTERS: Surrey students agree – LGBTQ lessons belong in schools

Social justice students at Fraser Heights Secondary say they are disappointed in critics’ reactions

The Editor,

Re: “Opponents of LGBTQ program to file human rights complaint against Surrey School District,” the Now-Leader online.

I am a Grade 12 student at Fraser Heights Secondary in Surrey. I believe that schools should be enforcing these LGBTQ topics in class to bring awareness to every single student.

It is absolutely crucial to be aware of the current society surrounding us. Not only does this help promote positive outcomes for LGBTQ youth, it also fosters a more accepting school environment.

Many LGBTQ teenagers experience depression, anxiety and guilt or shame that stem from how family, friends and the public treat their sexual orientation or gender identity.

By talking about these issues in school starting from a young age educates students to accept these people just like anyone else.

Moreover, it leads to more acceptance and less bullying.

Schools should start incorporating these topics in not only high school, but elementary school as well.

Angela Chang, Surrey

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The Editor,

I am a high school student at Fraser Heights Secondary and I am taking a social justice class that teaches about LGBTQ+ community issues.

In my opinion, this issue needs to be taught in schools. This topic is a civil rights issue and not teaching it in schools today would be like saying that students should not be taught about racism and discrimination. Moreover, many students who attend schools might be or are part of this community and do not feel that they are “normal.” These discussions about the LGBTQ will help change their views about themselves and help students feel safe at school.

Exposing students to this topic helps them be prepared for real life because the reality of the situation is that there will be people that aren’t heterosexual. Some encounters will also consist of people identifying to themselves as a different gender than the birth gender. Students should know the correct political terms and make others feel comfortable. Importantly not adding the LGBTQ community in the curriculum would be saying that their history and struggles aren’t real and important.

This topic also helps students become more empathetic and have an open mind towards others. Adding the LGBTQ community issues are important in civil rights movements and also broadening the horizons of students to prepare them to be better citizens.

Muskan Jaswal, Surrey

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The Editor,

I am a grade 12 student at Fraser Heights Secondary and I am enrolled in our school’s social justice program. I am writing you to express my disappointment in the response from our community towards the SOGI activities and learnings within Surrey schools.

I have lived in Surrey my whole life and have always been proud to live in a community that is so accepting of multiculturalism and has always been a great place for kids to learn and explore new things.

This is why I am shocked that some of the parents of Surrey are not OK with their children learning about LGBTQ rights and that we are trying to break the barrier between homophobic mannerisms and the LGBTQ community.

The schools are not forcing children into homosexuality but rather they are educating them on the subject so that we can, as a community, as a country, and as a world united as one, accept LGBTQ people and be supportive of their decisions.

I am accepting of others opinions but as a Grade 12 student who has seen the effects of homophobia and kids growing up with improper education related to the LGBTQ community, it is evident that the SOGI curriculum is necessary.

Samuel Enchelmaier, Surrey

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The Editor,

As a high-school student, currently learning SOGI curriculum, this article really hits home. I cannot express how thankful I am that I have been educated on this topic.

Open-mindedness is a skill not only valuable for its benefit to society but also in creating students who are well rounded, future members of the workforce. It is far too often that we dismiss these skills, in favour of students regurgitating information.

As a student, I am tired of having my educational desires, and needs misrepresented by a small number of adults, who are incapable of accepting change. It is paramount that these individuals who criticize this education, understand that the information being given to students is meant to make them more accepting and respectful individuals; it is not meant to take away from the personal views of families in the community.

The Surrey school district is doing an excellent job of educating us on the value of being respectful citizens, and I hope that this curriculum continues for many more generations to come.

Victoria Kozar, Surrey

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The Editor,

I agree that each individual has the full right to express one’s opinion and thoughts with one another. However the world has come across a variety of significant changes and has advanced in so many ways which need to be considered.

It is essential to keep up or at least be aware of the improved society. Regardless of a person’s moral views, it is a fact that humans have a diverse array of sexual orientations and gender identities.

To only teach about one sexual orientation, to ignore gender minorities and to suggest that a heterosexual marriage is the only acceptable relationship for sexual activity makes the experiences of the LGBTQ people invisible and portrays an inaccurate image of human sexuality.

We should prepare the youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities to feel good about their sexuality, teach them how to make safe and responsible choices involving relationships and sexual activity and allow them to appreciate or at least tolerate the gender and sexual diversity of their peers and community members.

Therefore, incorporating LGBTQ+ topics and perspectives into the curriculum is essential because everyone is unique in their own way and it is important to accept that we as humans deserve to be who we want to be, do as we wish unless it is disrespectful and against the law, and of course be able to love whomever we want.

Riva Verma, Fraser Heights Secondary