May 17 - International Day against Homophobia: A teachable moment

May 17, 2011
Ottawa….On International Day against Homophobia, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) invites teachers to use age-appropriate ways to generate discussions with their students and to heighten a better understanding of sexual and gender minorities.

The Federation believes the role of educators is critical in creating safe, welcoming, equitable, and inclusive working and learning environments for all – especially those students, teachers, and families who identify or are perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, queer or questioning their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

“As teachers, we can no longer ignore or deny homophobic, transphobic, and heterosexist prejudice and hatred in addressing discrimination in Canadian education,” explains CTF President Mary-Lou Donnelly. “An inclusive society is one in which the dignity, worth and integrity of all Canadians are recognized, respected and honored, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Findings contained in the Egale Canada May 2011 study Every Class in Every School: the first national climate survey on homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in Canadian schools, reveal that much more needs to be accomplished collectively to counter homophobic and heterosexist prejudice and hatred in Canadian education. This effort needs to include all partners in the education community including parents.

Teachers wishing to use the day as a teachable moment can consult the links and resources available on the CTF Web site at which include:

  • Challenging Silence, Challenging Censorship (2007);
  • Seeing the Rainbow (2002) produced in cooperation with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO);
  • Lessons Learned: A Collection of Stories and Articles About Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Issues (2005);
  • The Gay-Straight Student Alliance Handbook (2006);
  • And slated to be released later in 2011, Supporting transgender and transsexual students in K-12 schools: A guide for educators.

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation speaks for nearly 200,000 teachers in Canada as their national voice on education and related social issues.  CTF is also a member of the international body of teachers, Education International.


Spokesperson: Mary-Lou Donnelly, CTF President
Media contact: Francine Filion, Director of Communications, 613-688-4314 or 613-899-4247 (cell)