AFL calls on legislature to approve bill to promote Gay-Straight Alliances
Edmonton – The Alberta Federation of Labour is calling on MLAs from across all parties to support Bill 202, a private-members bill that would require school boards to accommodate students seeking to form gay-straight alliances in their schools.
Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman’s bill, the Safe and Inclusive Schools Statutes Amendment Act, which is expected to hit the legislature today, will help build healthier communities for Alberta students and could save lives.
“The Alberta Federation of Labour proudly stands by the LGBTQ community and supports all measures that help to make this province a more inclusive and safe place to be for all Albertans,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “When Bill 202 comes up for debate, I encourage all MLAs to support it to help make our schools safe spaces for all students, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”
A recent report funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) found that Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) can contribute to the reduction of suicidal thoughts and attempts among both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ students. Suicidal thoughts amongst LGBTQ students were reduced by more than half and non-LGBTQ boys were half as likely to attempt suicide when schools had GSAs.
“Gay-Straight Alliances are proven to deter bullying, promote positive communities for all students—now there’s evidence to suggest they even save young lives,” McGowan said. “There is simply no good reason for our elected representatives to restrict students from organizing themselves into more positive and inclusive communities. Albertans are accepting and supportive of the LGBTQ community. It’s time for provincial representatives to reflect those values.”
The University of British Columbia’s press release on the CIHR-funded report can be downloaded here:
Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell)