May 17 is recognized as the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. This day was created in 2004 to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by:

  • Two Spirit
  • Lesbian
  • Gay
  • Bisexual
  • Transgender
  • Intersex people
  • All other people with diverse:
    • Sexual orientations
    • Gender identities or expressions
    • Sex characteristics

Also on May 17, 1990 the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.

This year the theme for May 17 is “No one left behind: Equality, freedom and justice for all.” All people have the right to body autonomy, governing the choices they make for their bodies.

In the WRDSB

All of us in the WRDSB must take time to reflect on the message of this day. Many staff, students and community members experience discrimination, harm or live in fear of sharing their true identity.

In 2021, students who are members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community shared their thoughts and experiences during a Student Trustee Exchange. Here is some of what we heard from them:

“It’s important to have acceptance because many people in the 2SLGBTQIA+ / supporting community are really frustrated, angry and scared at my school.”

“I think they should focus on educating the student population on 2SLGBTQIA+ roles and history. It is becoming a bigger part of our community and a lot of people don’t know what the community consists of, and 2SLGBTQIA+ history is mostly forgotten.”

“I think people should know that no matter who they are, they’re welcome and loved, and others should support them and show them that they are included.”

As a community, WRDSB’s priority is to ensure all students feel safe and welcomed, so we commit to actively addressing homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. This safeguarding means taking intentional actions in response to violence and discrimination against 2SLGBTQIA+ people. We have a responsibility to foster inclusive learning environments where all students and staff rights are protected and their identities valued.

However, as a community, we must keep in mind that learning is the beginning of the steps needed to ensure that WRDSB spaces are safe for 2SLGBTQIA+ students, staff and families. We must continually commit to learning, unlearning and then taking action to support and create new and more inclusive spaces.

How You Can Learn More

Educating ourselves is one action we can take to understand, identify and disrupt homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.

Learn more about the human rights challenges facing 2SLGBTQIA+ people everywhere: