Safety for all

As a retired elementary school teacher, I would like to share the following observations.

Youth deserve the freedom to be their authentic selves, and learn and grow in a safe environment. All youth deserve to be respected at school, including queer and trans students.

It can be tough to feel that you are different while growing up, whether you are gay, trans, an immigrant, someone struggling financially or anyone who has faced challenges for being who they are. It is important not to roll back protections for our queer and trans youth instead of working to address the many important issues affecting our youth today.

Imagine a young trans girl who looks like, acts like and is, in fact, a girl, but who is now supposed to use the boy’s bathroom at school. Does anyone really think this will be a safe situation?

Remember how much bullying went on in school for the tiniest of reasons, such as one did not have the latest in shoes or hairstyles. Now go back to the image of the pretty little trans girl entering the boy’s bathroom or having to change and shower in the boy's change room.

Imagine her fear. Imagine the lack of safety and security for that young person. Iimagine her feeling so scared and insecure she thinks her only avenue is to take her own life. Stats show that is a very real possibility for her.

That is why we must give trans youth the respect they deserve and allow them the freedom to be themselves in the safest possible way by using the facilities that align with their gender identity.

Karen Bucholtz, Kelowna

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