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School’s out, inclusion is in!

The fight for dignity for 2SLGBTQ+ people in Canadian schools has been long and storied. Inclusive policies have come about due to hard work and real need from 2SLGBTQ+ students, supportive families, lawyers, lawmakers, politicians, nonprofits, charities, artists, businesses, and activists. Unfortunately, this important legacy and these essential policies are being distorted by hate groups and far-right activists who are spreading misinformation about the purpose, content, and effects of inclusive policies and curriculum in schools.

That’s why it’s time for some Extra Credit. In a series of short videos, we’re going to break down some of the issues, events, and change makers who have carved out spaces in Canadian schools for 2SLGBTQ+ students to grow up experiencing less shame, confusion, and bullying. All kids — not just cisgender, heterosexual ones — deserve lives full of care, belonging, and pride. All kids deserve the freedom to be themselves, and the space to figure out who they are. That’s what your youth is for, and that’s what protecting children really looks like.

We’ve teamed up with the amazing folks at the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario, and PFLAG Toronto to bring you this series. Our first video talks about how some of the earliest organized queer activism in Canada took place on university campuses, and how tragedies have shaped some of the first efforts to fight discrimination in schools.


Aeryn Pfaff, The 519: The safety of 2SLGBTQ+ students is at risk in Canada, with harmful policies introduced in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Across the country, inclusive education policies are being distorted by anti-2SLGBTQ+ hate groups. Through a series of short videos, we’re gonna dispel myths, and speak about the history of inclusive education in Canada.

In the 1960’s gay advocacy was getting more organized. In 1964, before it was legal to be gay in Canada, a U of T student newspaper reflected on the issue of gay bashing on campus. By the early 70s, gay liberation groups had formed at U of T, York and Waterloo.


Gurpreet Singh-Rai, Teacher: In 1985, a teacher named Kenneth Zeller was murdered by teens in High Park while walking home from school. This horrific incident led to one of the first programs intended to fight homophobia in Toronto schools.


Jeishan Rajakulasingam, Teacher: It wasn’t a big, sweeping change, but it was a big deal for the TDSB to tell students that homophobia is unacceptable.


Anne Creighton, PFLAG Toronto: Since then, we’ve seen research supporting queer and trans students, that reveals the impacts of not feeling safe at school, at home or in community. We’ve seen our allies and communities come together to address homophobia, not only generally in society, but specifically in schools.

And while we’ve come a long way, the fight to protect queer and trans kids continues. All kids need to feel safe at school. All kids need to feel safe to figure out who they are. That’s what your youth is for.


Aeryn Pfaff, The 519: We’re living through a movement where lots of folks are making political gains by misrepresenting the facts, and we want to give you the tools to know what’s what. Stay tuned for more videos in this series!

No matter how much noise hate mongering politicians and far-right activists make, no matter how much misinformation they spread, we’re not going back on inclusion in schools. Stay tuned to this page and our social media. We’ll be updating it with new videos as the rest of the series is released.