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Gee Whillickers

Alberta judge dismisses bid to place gay-straight alliance law on hold

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The Canadian province that I currently reside in, Alberta (For US Residents, think Texas, and you'll have generally the right idea of the culture and politics here for the most part), has been undergoing a rather heated political battle for the past few years.

 

The political party that currently makes up the opposition and that was the previous governing party in the province has been adamant that parents should be informed each and every time their child dares to attend a GSA meeting at a school. This party, of course, is quite far to the right. Their reasoning for this, or so they claim, is that parents have the right to know what their minor children are doing in any and every circumstance. Period.

 

Naturally, the dissent on this issue was loud and strong. The current government of this province is quite far to the left, despite the overall right wing sentiment in general in the culture of this province. I won't go into the interesting and kind of complex events that led a left wing party (rather further to the left than the Democrats in the US) to form the government of perhaps the most right wing province in Canada, but nonetheless, needless to say, prior to forming the government they led the rally to ensure kids' privacy with regards to their choice to attend GSA's, and since forming the government they have continued to work on this. After forming the government they passed a law protecting kids from this very thing.

 

Needless to say, faith based groups and right wing groups and so-called 'parental rights' groups were not pleased.

 

Today, An Alberta judge dismissed an attempt by the folks saying kids' had no right to privacy on this issue to put a hold on the current law ensuring schools will *not* inform parents of their attendance in GSAs. A big win for students supporting GSAs, regardless of their sexuality.

 

Here's a link to the article:

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/gsa-injunction-overturned-1.4724713

 

And another article:

 

https://globalnews.ca/news/4300217/alberta-gay-straight-alliance-judge-injunction-bill-10/

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Sadly, this is a mixed blessing and will likely last only until the first gay or questioning student attempts or successfully commits suicide. And according to the Trevor Project statistics, that's a fairly high percentage of young gay people. For parents of such a young person, deliberately kept in the dark regarding their child by the very people to whom they legally must entrust them each day, hell would have no fury like their pursuit of vengeance.

Parents and the home are traditionally the preeminent place of refuge for kids. The incredibly fast changes to our societal makeup, particularly dealing with aspects of our human sexuality, have tossed a monstrous monkey wrench in the works of normal maturation. And today's parents aren't a whole lot better prepared for these changes than anybody else. Many of them are products of families themselves with challenges. But by the very nature of the parent-child relationship, it must take precedence over other 'fears' we may have. Perhaps a mandatory "Modern Parenting" class starting in Middle School could be a start.

Yes, there are parents who will be intolerant. There are others who are perceived as such by their children, but who honestly want only happiness for their kids. There is likely no middle-of-the-road here. But when schools communicate with parents on every detail of their children's lives except one, trouble will most assuredly follow.

 

The Trevor Project - Facts About Suicide  https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/preventing-suicide/facts-about-suicide/#sm.00000mkumd8go7fhozucc8k4jklqg

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Well, the thing is Chris, the statistics for gay and questioning youth attempting or completing suicide are not really much different here than in many other places. And this data, and the broader social issues surrounding it, were part of the arguments that allowed this law and similar laws to be enacted and challenges like the one discussed in the article to not be successful.

Unfortunately, plenty of excellent evidence shows that many of these youth were driven to be suicidal *because* of their parents reaction to them possibly being lgbqt.

 

In fact, that is why legislation such as this tends to arise. In this case, of course, it was because certain groups (quite often religious, but not exclusively so) and political parties were beginning to demand that schools immediately inform parents every time their kid is seen wandering into a GSA meeting. This, of course, would be the exception to typical modus operandi, rather than the reverse. After all, schools don't typically press the alert button on the batphone to the parents when their kid wanders into Chess club.

And, of course, this led to the expected fallout. And it began at the grass roots highschool level. Timid kids, and kids with controlling and possibly abusive parents, began to avoid an important resource for them. Outspoken and politically active kids, noticing what was happening, and the direct negative consequences to those affected, often their friends, began to raise shit. Outspoken, confident, and politically active kids tend to have a higher incidence of happening to have outspoken and politically active parents, often well connected.

This is not, of course, the only legislation surrounding the rights of adolscents vs. the rights of parents. Also under this broad umbrella are access to medical services when these go against their parents' religious beliefs, such as blood transfusions and many other medical procedures, and access to birth control and pregnancy testing, and STD testing and treatment.

 

 

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Gee -- The worst thing here, of course, is there's nothing I can really disagree with on a factual basis in your argument. It's interesting to note that even in your addendum of health issues the only one that doesn't directly involve sexuality is blood transfusions. It seems a lot of "modern" society is caught up with the whole sexuality thing and works overtime to separate parents and their kids from discussing it openly. But if I had a child who was participating in school-sponsored football, band,  LGBTQIA or other school activities without my permission and was hurt or died in the process, whether by accident, murder or suicide, there would be a reckoning.

Fortunately my progeny are well past school ages so keeping them in the dark worked fine. Though it doesn't quite explain THEIR progeny!

- - - - - -

[There's an article about GSA actions at a Pennsylvania High School online today that relates to the topic as well:

https://www.google.com/search?q=boys+hpv+advert&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=RrcScsNp-BZuuM%3A%2CWCqzw1-jyyx-ZM%2C_&usg=__sZF9bNN3g5tbxVzhJ-HkF3APmjI%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj0nrLov_nbAhV4IDQIHRSxBA8Q9QEItwEwEQ#imgrc=Mf0bPdj01DsnDM:

(Be forewarned that the author, Todd Starnes, is slightly to the right of Attila the Hun.)]

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Chris, there's a problem with your link. It takes me to a Google search page for HPV vaccinations for kids. (A great program and all kids should get the HPV vaccination.)

Unfortunately, using your link there's no article reporting about GSA actions at a Pennsylvania high school.

Colin  :icon_geek:

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I don't understand this indoctrination business.  Are the ones complaining saying that by showing some videos to kids about homosexuality, that is going to influence the kids to turn gay?  Are they really, in this day and age, still certain homosexuality is a choice, and that straight kids will choose it as a lifestyle if they see a few videos about it, videos that I'm certain are meant to build acceptance of different sexualities, not recruit new members.  They're to breed tolerance and understanding.  I guess these adults don't want their kids to be tolerant or knowledgeable. 

I simply don't understand the high degree of hatred these people have for something that has no effect on them at all.  Yet we all know people like that.

C

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On 6/29/2018 at 6:10 PM, ChrisR said:

But if I had a child who was participating in school-sponsored football, band,  LGBTQIA or other school activities without my permission and was hurt or died in the process, whether by accident, murder or suicide, there would be a reckoning.

(Be forewarned that the author, Todd Starnes, is slightly to the right of Attila the Hun.)]

 

The issue here, of course, is that this is a student club run by students. And of course nobody is going to get in an accident or be murdered or become suicidal due to this any more than they will in math class or chess club.

Again, it's rather the reverse. Meetings such as this help prevent suicides due to conditions outside of this, usually at home. And the indoctrination argument fails utterly from the get-go.

 

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When I was a freshman in high school (the 2003-2004 school year) we got word that some parents demanded that they have the right to review all material to be handed out or presented at the GSA Club meetings because they were sure they were trying to turn kids gay. I wasn't a member of the GSA Club nor were any of my friends. But the idea that some group of religious nut parents wanted the right to do what they demanded really pissed us off. We found out that one boy had attended one of the GSA Club meetings with the purpose of providing a rationale for that parent group and their demands. Word began to spread around campus and my friends and I decided we'd go to the next GSA Club meeting to support them. We found out that the number of kids who attended their meetings was usually about 30. There were over 150 kids at the next meeting. The speaker was a Walnut Creek policewoman who talked about bullying and ways to stop it and why the so-called "don't-snitch" rule wasn't a rule and what it was doing was enabling bullies. She also talked about teen suicide — there were a lot of suicides by students at Gunn High School in Palo Alto at that time and it seemed every week it was in the news (The CalTrain commuter rail tracks run along the back side of the Gunn High campus, and kids from Gunn were stepping in front of trains). She handed out a list of resources for kids who were thinking suicide was their only option. She also said that some significant percentage of teen suicides were by kids who were gay. That was the only "gay" part of her talk.

Anyway, the GSA Club more than doubled their regular meeting attendance and had to move to a larger room. They had interesting speakers and topics, and of course there was no "gay indoctrination" the way the parents had claimed. The school and the school district turned down the demands of those parents. Doug and I continued to go to the GSA Club meetings mainly because of the interesting topics but also because one of the student officers brought in homemade chocolate chip cookies to the meetings. Those cookies were really good!

Colin  :icon_geek:

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Thanks, Chris.

The new link works. The guy isn't slightly to the right of Atilla the Hun. He's so far the the right Atilla the Hun doesn't have a chance to catch up to him!

Colin  :icon_geek:

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Colin - Your experience with the GSA alliance at PAHS is probably not unusual. But it's also why I'm opposed to keeping out the UnClean. I suspect an open meeting where parents can attend and participate, particularly with a police officer guest speaker, and dealing with topics that would have an obvious interest for those parents, would be extraordinarily important. It might even open some eyes. But by the school district hiding the topics and making it clear that parents are unwelcome the group is begging for trouble and, I hate to say, lawsuits.

 

PS: Colin - I didn't realize we'd sorta crossed paths before. I used to sell Macs in downtown PA! :) (Back in the late last millennium.)

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I've always hated to see kids get hurt, or even worse get sick and know they'll never recover, or get killed, or commit suicide. I paid attention to things that happened to kids in the Bay Area. That's why I know about Gunn High School. I have a cousin who's about four years older than me, and she went to Gunn. We talked about the number of suicides there, and she said she thought it was because it was such a competitive school. Everything was a competition, but mostly grades and succeeding. She's a member of the San Francisco police department now.

I went to Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek and graduated in 2007. I think it's a much smaller school than either Gunn or Paly. When I was at Las Lomas we had about 1,500 students. That's why our football team sucked. At least that was the generally accepted point of view.

What I described about the GSA is based on my own experience at LL. I'm not surprised that they had the same sort of things happen at Gunn and Paly. LL didn't have suicides. We had kids die because they were reckless. Body surfing in the canal behind the campus when it was swollen and running fast from the rain. Skateboarding on the top level of the Broadway Plaza parking structure and riding the edge of the wall and going over. Lots of stupid, reckless things. I didn't do any of them.

PFLAG, Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, is the largest LGBTQ support organization. My folks went to a few of their meetings, and so did Doug and I. They have the kinds of topics that you and I both described. It was a good group, probably better for adults than teens, but also good for parents who are having difficulty when they have a son or daughter who announces that they are gay.

The GSA at LL let kids who were gay or conflicted find peers who they could talk to. And since GSA is the Gay Straight Alliance a lot of the kids who came to the GSA meetings were straight. Some came because they had siblings or friends who were gay. Some came because of the homemade chocolate chip cookies. There was a teacher who was the school's representative for the club; all clubs at LL had a faculty or staff person as the school's representative. Even the Chess club. I don't know if that's the case elsewhere.

Colin  :icon_geek:

 

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18 hours ago, ChrisR said:

I suspect an open meeting where parents can attend and participate, particularly with a police officer guest speaker, and dealing with topics that would have an obvious interest for those parents, would be extraordinarily important. It might even open some eyes. But by the school district hiding the topics and making it clear that parents are unwelcome the group is begging for trouble and, I hate to say, lawsuits.

 

When I was talking about the Alberta issues surrounding this perhaps I did a poor job of expressing what this was all about. My apologies, if so. 

I agree with you about having open meetings, at least some of the time. Open meetings like you suggest are indeed how many GSAs operate and this can be very effective. And, of course, they're not 'hiding' the topics, or the existence of the clubs nor making parents unwelcome. And are encouraging students to ensure they talk to their parents about this and other issues, where appropriate.  That isn't the issue surrounding this controversy, nor the intent. Instead, it's to protect those needing protection. The issue, of course, is rights. Parents have some, yes. But, so do kids. And the older the kids, the more this is the case, and yes, sometimes it is appropriate and necessary for the rights of a teen to supersede the perceived rights of their parent.

 

 

 

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