Proud in Prairie South: New Course on LGBT+ Issues ‘First in Canada’
A new high school course on Gender & Sexual Diversity developed by Prairie South School Division in partnership with Moose Jaw Pride has received final approval from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education. While certainly a first for Saskatchewan, the course also appears to be the first of its kind to be offered anywhere in Canada.
“We are always working towards a more inclusive school system and this course is a piece of that,” explains Tony Baldwin, the Director of Education for the Prairie South School Division.
The new course aims to help LGBT+ youth and their allies learn about what it means to be gender and sexually diverse in a way that dispels myths, is grounded in empathy, encourages critical thinking and inspires positive change.
“We recognize the need to ensure that our students–regardless of their gender or sexual orientation–have accurate information, a place to discuss the history and culture of gender and sexually diverse people and a chance to build allyship in our schools,” explains Lori Meyer, Superintendent of Learning for the Prairie South School Division.
Plans are already in place to start teaching the credit course in Prairie South by February 2018, the spring term of the upcoming school year. Other school divisions in Saskatchewan wanting to offer the course can make an application to the Ministry of Education.
Meyer notes that this course would not have come to fruition without the input of Joe Wickenhauser and other members of Moose Jaw Pride:
“Prairie South is really proud to partner with Moose Jaw Pride. This is just one example of how we can get things done together.”
Wickenhauser is the Executive Director of Moose Jaw Pride and a recipient of the Saskatoon Heritage Award for his work on LGBT+ history. “Our communities can move forward when we teach youth about diversity and give them opportunities to create a better future,” Wickenhauser said.
The course focuses on four learning outcomes: terminology to discuss Gender and Sexual Diversity (GSD) and what it means to be an ally, the factors that affect the health and wellbeing of GSD individuals and communities, key moments in the history of Gender and Sexual Diversity in Saskatchewan and the necessity for intersectional perspectives to guide positive change.
“The learning outcomes were chosen to bring out a more well-developed understanding of the challenges that people who are gender and sexually diverse face, including the LGBT youth who are in our schools,” says Lori Meyer, Superintendent of Learning at Prairie South School Division.
According to the Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey, 53% of transgender youth (aged 14-18) from Saskatchewan and Manitoba said they were bullied at school.
Baldwin notes that this course is more than just an example of the positive impact of society’s growing awareness of and dialogue around gender and sexual diversity:
“The course itself is evidence of the impact student leaders and teacher leaders have had in getting gender and sexual diversity issues at the forefront in schools.”
For more information, contact:
Moose Jaw Pride