The provincial government says that more opportunities are being created for students within the LGBTQ2S+ community to connect.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, British Columbia’s Gay-Straight or Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) will host meet-ups online.
Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, explains that LGBTQ2S+ kids often feel more isolated and for some students, the school was the “only place they could be their authentic selves.”
“That’s why now, more than ever, it’s so important for LGBTQ2S+ children and youth to stay connected and to know that they have safe, confidential outlets to virtually socialize with each other,” he said
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The province adds that while GSAs are conducted and led by students, they require a teacher or educator to sponsor them. Not every sponsor will have member students in their classes, which has made it a challenge to spread the message about these virtual meetings.
Research from a Population Health Journal study of BC students shows that these clubs have a positive effect on the overall health of LGBTQ2S+ students’ overall health, well-being, and self-esteem.
The study also says that when a GSA group is at a school for a period longer than three years, “there are lower rates of suicidal thoughts in both gay and straight kids.”
The province also recently launched a free, virtual well-being program for students between grades K to 12, which places an emphasis on social-emotional learning and resiliency.