TG Innerselves, police, repair, partnerships, relationships, community support, trans, transgender, parents, caring adults, theatre, social justice, identity, respect, acceptance, diversity
Tara: As you know we’re talking about LGBTQ families in schools and you said you’d like to start off with some talk about the police, families, and schools.
Vincent: Yes, absolutely. So yesterday we had given a talk about the relationship that TG Innerselves has built with the police service here is Sudbury, and how this is work is important because we know that there are a lot of members of our community who are not comfortable and are not safe around police officers, and are feeling that they cannot go to the police, and we know that in terms of a history and statistics around police harassment. We know the history with the bathhouses, with the residential schools, and historically with, uh, issues like carding that police services are not always safe places for people.
Vincent: But the goal in Sudbury is to change that.
Vincent: So one of the things that I’ve been doing, and we didn’t really have time to go over this in our presentation yesterday, but this is something that’s been happening recently as a project. So the police have been in schools here in Sudbury for many years, and they have liaison officers that work in the high school and the elementary schools. And in the elementary schools they have this program called Respect, so they go into the schools, and they do, um, presentations about values, and they show videos, and they do interactive activities. And a few months ago they had contacted me in my office and they had said, you know Vincent, because of the work you are doing and because of the students who are actually experiencing a lot of the bullying who are at the root of why we are being called in, are trans kids. So we really want you in the schools with us, doing this. So every time they have one of these sessions they call me.
Vincent: And I’m invited, and I go along with them, and for one of them the entire class made a skit, so we went in, we did the activities, and they said alright, all of you are going to go into groups, you are going to do your individual skits, we’ll come back in a couple months and we’ll have an evening session where you can show your skits and your parents and caring adults will be there. Because as we know, parents, guardians, family members, we’re moving away from that language where, you know, everyone has a mom and dad, because everyone - not everyone has a mom and a dad in our life, so it’s caring adults.
Vincent: And this session happened a few weeks ago.
Vincent: And to see all these adults in a room watching the work their kids had, um, had put in to this project over the past couple months where they made skits about respecting people, respecting people’s identities, there were skits around being transgender and being part of the LGBTQ2+ community. And to think these skits about respect and about accepting diversity and about kindness, and about values, came from a workshop by the police.
Tara: It’s quite something.
Vincent: Yes. And to be a member of a trans-specific organization and being invited by the police to be a part of this, it’s big, and especially with what’s going on in other communities, around - around the relationship between police services and the community, this is huge.