Call for Photos, Images and Artwork for Queer Friendly Schools Conference, Vancouver, BC, October 22, 2004

Wednesday, July 28 2010

Queer Friendly Schools Conference, Friday, October 22, 2004, Vancouver, B.C.

A national call for photographs, images or artwork reflecting the diversity of LGBTQ education and culture in Canada.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, and queer (LGBTQ) community in Canada has a rich and diverse history represented by significant periods of social change and activism. The first wave of change drew upon the experiences of our feminist sisters and was marked by the increasing visibility, organization, and mobilization of LGBTQ individuals and community groups. The second wave witnessed the building of coalitions and the quest for the rights and recognition of LGBTQ equality through the Courts. Now, we are entering into what Ryan (2003) defines as perhaps the most important wave - attitudinal change.

The Surrey Teachers' Association (2000) states "Schools remain one of the last bastions of tolerated hatred toward GLBT people." Increasingly, LGBTQ youth, teachers, and allied educators across Canada have become more and more visible and vocal in their attempts to address homophobia as one of the last acceptable forms of discrimination in schools. Significant progress is being made.

These and many other initiatives represent significant steps forward on the road to LGBTQ inclusion in Canadian schools and communities. Unfortunately, many of our schools across the nation are still hostile environments for LGBTQ students and teachers. Ryan (2003) describes these school environments as closets that are "built out of a desire for survival and protection." Some LGBTQ youth are lucky and survive these closets of oppression. Increasingly, many of these youth are moving beyond a legacy of simply trying to survive and are learning to thrive in their schools due to the support of their parents, committed educators, and gay-straight student alliances. Unfortunately, many LGBTQ youth who do not have these important sources of support end up dropping out, tuning off, or in tragic circumstances commit suicide.
Confronting homophobia and heterosexism is every educator's responsibility. We will not have inclusive and welcoming schools until every student and every teacher feels safe and valued for their individual uniqueness.

Clearly, we have come a long way as an LGBTQ community. Through our human rights and legal victories in the Courts we have taken significant steps on the road to inclusion. Yet, we still have a long and challenging path that lies before us. We each travel different roads along that pathway.

No matter what road we travel or path we walk, each journey begins with a single step.

As a part of that journey and in preparation for the 2004 Vancouver School Board Queer Friendly Schools Conference, we are collecting diverse and unique images that represent waypoints along the road to inclusion.

These images will be incorporated into a visual narrative multi-media presentation for the conference's opening keynote presentation.

Pictures, images or artwork might include any of the following themes:

Please send us your images and a short description or story to help inspire, motivate, and fortify our deliberations as we gather together at this important educational event to imagine the road to inclusion and the possibility for Queer Friendly Schools.

Photographs, images or other creative works may be sent to:

Kristopher Wells
7-104 Department of Educational Policy Studies,
Faculty of Education, University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G5

All submissions will be returned upon request.

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