This April we were busier than ever with Day of Pink celebrations on April 8th and every day that week.
We did two assemblies at Runnymede Collegiate, attended the official celebration with Chief Bill Blair at Forest Hill Collegiate, presented to the BMO Diversity Group, spoke to eight classes at Ledbury Elementary and two assemblies at Humewood Elementary. It was a busy and fulfilling week.
But I was alarmed to see more and more schools focus only on bullying generally and loosing sight of the “pink-ness” of Day of Pink.
The student wearing a pink shirt who got this all started at a high school in Nova Scotia was bullied because he was GAY.
Homophobic and transphobic bullying are a tragic fact of life for most of our kids. Research done by Egale Canada clearly indicates that a vanilla approach to bullying does not help our LGBTQ* kids. It does help the situation for straight kids who are bullied.
This research also showed that more than 60 percent of students do not feel safe at school. Please think about a time when you did not feel safe. Now imagine feeling that every day. The International Day of Pink needs to draw attention to this crisis that unfolds every day for our kids.
We need anti-bullying strategies that call out homophobia and transphobia directly.
One community leader who “gets it” is outgoing Chief of Police Bill Blair. As Chief Blair moves onto his next challenge, Toronto Pflag hopes that our new Chief will be marching in the Pride Parade this June and carrying on the work that Blair started. The Toronto Police Service has been a strong ally of Toronto Pflag and our community generally. We hope to continue that partnership under Chief Saunders and wish him all the best.