bullying, teachers, preferred pronouns, safer space, support, advocacy, timing, gender neutral washroom, community resources, TG Innerselves, gay-straight alliance
Vincent: For me the bullies were not my classmates, they were the teachers and the principal. So there was that extreme where it’s happening within the school from the ones who should be stopping it. Um, and unfortunately in some schools I’m still hearing students say, you know, this teacher doesn’t respect my pronouns, or this - this person in the administration will stand there and watch other people make these comments and torment me and do nothing. So I see that, and I hear those stories. However, what I’m hearing more of is teachers and principals calling me and saying we have an issue in our school.
Vincent: Or, how do we put something in place to ensure that our kids are safe and respected within the school? So there’s been this shift where it’s not the person who is experiencing the bullying that’s the problem, and it’s swept under the rug, but more and more people are taking action. So we had been invited to go to a particular school, where the issue with bullying is still really intense. And so they had invited me and my colleague to go to their GSA, and I said, I do plenty of presentations for entire schools, I think it would be great to go in and talk to every single student…
Vincent: Give my ‘Trans 101’ and talk about my story coming out as trans in high school and transitioning in school, and they said, it’s just not the right time, Vincent. I’m sorry, but it’s not the right time. Things are really bad here. And what was really sad about it is that this is a school that was one of the first schools in the area to have an all gender washroom that every student could use, so in many ways they made so much progress.
Vincent: So they’re having a lot of issues where students were being picked on outside of the GSA doors, and people listening in, and there were those kinds of issues. However, we said, okay well we will meet you where you are at, so we went into the GSA and talked to the twelve students who were there, and it was fabulous, and said, you know, we are here for you, here is our contact information. Call us, text us, because that’s a big thing with young people these days. They don’t email and they don’t call, but we have work cellphones, so they can text us at any time. And… use us as a resource. If there is something going on, and to the teachers as well, we are here to help.