Below is my appeal to the RDPS Board to have Pride Week. I submitted it as an Aunty at large. To send your letter of support for Pride Week, please email firstname.lastname@example.org before March 10.
To the hardworking board of Red Deer Public Schools,
My name is Sabrina Samuel, and I joined the Central Alberta Pride Society last year at this time as a reaction to the City of Red Deer’s vote against banning a proven form of child abuse: Gay Conversion Therapy. My heart broke as I drew nearer to people exposed to all forms, from extreme physical torture, to psychological abuses to “ungay” them as children.
My beloved second grade teacher, Audrey Lang had a gay child that changed my life. She was a singer by the name of k.d. Lang. The first form of activism and advocacy I saw was her stand as a young vegetarian in the heart of cattle country saying “meat stinks”.
This caused our welcome sign proclaiming, “Consort: Home of k.d. Lang” to be defaced with the words “Eat Beef Dyke” sprayed across it. I felt so alone in my feelings about that as a child. Some village women went and washed it off, and the press came.
I learned what standing up entailed, even when it meant standing against the environment in which you were raised.
As newcomers to Canada, my father wanted me to stay away from that controversy, although all I wanted was to join in to correct the injustice. Unfortunately, several people with less power than you as board members felt the way my father did. He couldn’t get involved, and feared his child and family may be hurt in the crossfire.
The ethnic diversity of young students is also another case for Pride, rather than diversity days. Children like me coming from countries with oppressive regimes towards women and sexual minorities need to be educated on sexual and gender diversity in Canada. Other intersecting identities fall under the Progressive Pride flag with brown and black stripes for BIPOC people.
I believe strongly in the power of formalized education as a means of gaining greater understanding, so the board allowed me to start working on a committee to achieve that end. It has been an illuminating personal experience sitting with some of the most incredible activists, artists, educators and citizens from the region who amplify and expound on growing up gay in an ultra-conservative backdrop.
Of everyone I chatted to, I would say the expertise of Dr. Kristopher Wells – whose work you are all familiar with developing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Policy – was the most compelling argument for Pride Week. Diversity Week is the least effective way to promote Diversity and Inclusion.
I hope you reconsider your position, and take into account your own policies backing what was a quite simple request. Please find a little less wordy explanation of my position below.
Pride Week is for the meek,
not eating lunch alone
The rainbow burst
With the last, first
The unicorn ice cream cone
Pride stops suicide and helps our self esteem
It shows us the realization,
Of the Pink Shirt Day Dream
Pride is unity, strength and celebration
what joy to the hurt it could bring
So let’s Enjoy Pride at school
let the little k.d.’s sing