National Day Against Homophobia

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May 17, 2007

EGALE Canada Calls for Zero Tolerance of Homphobic Bullying in our Schools

Ottawa - The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms recognizes the rights of all Canadians to be free from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Yet homophobic acts, jokes and insults happen every day while people stand by and do nothing to stop it.  

Teens are among those most vulnerable to homophobic bullying. As May 17, marks the fifth annual National Day Against Homophobia, Egale Canada is calling for zero tolerance of homophobic bullying in our schools.  

"Students from same-sex families as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students are being harassed in school with homophobic behaviour and bullying," said Egale Canada's Executive Director, Helen Kennedy. "Students who do not feel safe cannot learn," continued Kennedy. "These students need to see their lives reflected accurately and positively back to them within the curriculum."    

Kennedy added that schools must work harder to eliminate negative stereotypes and attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified people. "School boards must take a zero tolerance approach to homophobia, and transphobia," said Kennedy. "They have a responsibility to be proactive in preventing homophobic bullying and behaviour."    

"Today we need to send a strong message that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two spirited and transsexual community like all communities are safe and valued in every city and town across this country," said Nigel Flear, President of Egale Canada. "Everyone has a role to play in the fight for the elimination of all forms of discrimination."    

Egale Canada advances equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans identified   people and their families across Canada. Founded in 1986, Egale's work includes political action, legal interventions and public education and awareness.    

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*For more information: Helen Kennedy, Executive Director, 416-642-5027 b 416-270-1999 c